There are more than 2.3 million people in the world living with multiple sclerosis (MS). MS causes the body’s immune system to attack the protective coating of nerves. The symptoms of the disease vary depending on which nerves are damaged. It’s also a somewhat mysterious disease since there is much that scientists and doctors don’t know about it yet. However, they continue to study the disease and there is a lot that is known about it. Since March is National MS Education & Awareness Month, we’re sharing five important things that family caregivers of people with MS should know.
#1 There Are Four Kinds of MS
People with MS don’t all experience the disease in the same way. In fact, experts say there are four different ways that MS progresses. They are:
- Relapsing-Remitting: 85 percent of people with MS have this form of it. They have periods in which the disease relapses. Symptoms recur during a flare up.
- Secondary-Progressive: People with this kind of MS may experience remissions and relapses. However, their symptoms get steadily worse as time goes on. The majority of people who have relapsing-remitting MS will eventually progress to this form.
- Primary-Progressive: This kind of MS gradually gets worse over time without periods of remission.
- Progressive-Relapsing: Only 5 percent of people with MS have this kind. It causes the disease to get worse steadily and has periods of acute relapses. However, there are no remissions.
#2 MS Attacks the Central Nervous System
The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. All of the nerves of the body are connected to the brain and spinal cord, like tree branches. MS causes inflammation in the body that harms myelin. Myelin is like a protective sleeve over the actual nerve that protects it from damage. When the myelin is damaged, the nerves themselves are exposed and can be damaged, too.
#3 MS is Not Fatal for Most People
MS is a disease for which there is no cure, so it is considered a chronic disease. However, most people with MS will not die as a result of the disease. In general, people with MS have the same life expectancy as everyone else. In some rare cases, though, complications of the disease can occur that shortens life span.
#4 MS Can Affect Cognitive Function
Many people with MS can have problems with memory and other cognitive skills. Some problems that people with MS may have are:
- Trouble finding the right words.
- Problems with concentration.
- Impaired problem-solving.
- Issues with spatial relations.
#5 Senior Care Can Help Families Dealing with MS
Families coping with MS don’t have to do so unaided. Senior care providers can assist people with MS to live more comfortably and safely in their homes. Some of the things that senior care can do include light housecleaning, laundry, and meal preparation. Senior care providers can also help MS patients to dress, move safely around the house, bathe or shower, and handle other aspects of personal care.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering senior care in Alexandria, MN, please contact the caring staff at Alternative Senior Care today. Providing Home Care in Central Minnesota and Surrounding Communities. Call us Today (320) 352-3350.
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