Multiple Sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that bewilders us all. There is no known cause. We do know that MS (multiple sclerosis) is a disease where the myelin breaks down and is replaced by scar tissue. The demyelination can slow down or block the flow of signals to and from the central nervous system to the rest of the body, impairing such functions as vision, strength, and coordination.1 While we do know what MS is we still don’t know why, where and when people contract the disease. It has been proven that MS generally appears between the ages of twenty to forty and it strikes women at more than twice the ratio it strikes men. Statistics have also shown that the disease strikes the middle and upper class more than the lower class and poor. Worldwide research shows that MS has a broad geographical distribution.
It has long established that MS is more prominent in colder regions and rare in tropical areas. Maine being a colder climate has shown some of the highest rates of MS.2 There is evidence of a slight increase in MS among first degree relatives–parents, siblings, and children. It is also suspected that the same family members may inherent a genetic susceptibility to MS. While it is possible to inherit a genetic susceptibility to MS, it is not possible to inherit the disease. And even people who have all the necessary genes don’t necessarily get MS.
The disease, experts believe, must be triggered by environmental factors. So MS is not considered a hereditary disease.3 Until the definite cause of Ms is proved the treatment cannot be truly scientific. But there are treatments that are effective in dealing with symptoms. For instance, there are the common sense treatments that everyone, with or without an illness, should treat themselves with, which are: A healthy diet, exercise, sufficient amount of rest and to live your life as you would normally. There are also lots of drugs that treat many of the different symptoms. Since there are so many symptoms page 2 and treatments, I will only list a few: Treatments that increase the blood flow, that decrease blood clotting, treatments for chemical eccess or deficiency, treatments to prevent infection and treatments for the immune system. Treatment and rehabilitation have also been joined together.
Weakness is one of the major symptoms of Ms and can be treated with physical therapy and strengthening exercises. One of the best exercises for reducing weakness in the limbs is hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is done in the water. Hydrotherapy exercises use the benefits of buoyancy. Another way to eliminate weakness is to stay off a weak limb. Overall, by recognizing limits and using common sense, weakness can be greatly diminished.4 Spasticity, another MS symptom, is most effectively treated with physical therapy.
Cold is an excellent temporary measure for relaxing the spastic limb. Hydrotherapy is, again, the most effective exercise for relief, combining stretching and cool temperatures. There are also many medications for spasticity, such as Baclofen, Dantrollene, and Diazepam. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, transcendental meditation, biofeedback, have been successful with spasticity as well. 5 Some MS patients might have mild to sever balance trouble.
In mild cases, the person can learn how to compensate easily by standing and walking with a little wider base and taking short steps rather than long strides. When balance trouble is a little more severe, a four-pronged cane, crutches or a walker may be necessary.6 Someone with MS could have visual problems. The problem varies from decreased acuity, blurred or cloudy vision, and double vision. The treatment depends on the stage of the problem. If it is a new part of an attack, visual loss responds to steroids.
If it is a persistent problem, glasses or special lenses might be the best treatment.7 page 3 Bladder problems are unfortunately not uncommon with MS. The most common are frequency and urgency. There are three good medications that relieve symptoms when they are present for more than a week or two: Pro-Banthine, Ditropan and Tofranil. Iif bladder problems do not respond to medication, a complete bladder training problem may be prescribed.7 The treatments and medications used ten years ago are still effective and still being used but there are medical breakthroughs being announced regularly. In October of 1994, there was a medical breakthrough. Researchers found out that an anticancer drug stops the most crippling form of MS.
The drug is Cladribine and the results are dramatic. A study was done on 49 patients with progressive chronic MS, which effects about 53,000 Americans and is the most severe form of MS. Half of the patients were given the drug and the other half were given a placebo. For the patients that were given Cladribine the spread of MS stopped for all patients and some improved. Their legs no longer shook and they no longer needed canes or braces.
Dr. Ernest Beutler stated: “It’s the only agent that has clearly been shown to stop the progression of the disease.”8 Another treatment that is not new or a medical breakthrough but is very effective and gaining popularity with MS patients is Apitherapy, which is the scientific name for the bee venom that is used by MS patients. Doctors aren’t exactly sure why the bee venom is effective. They know that the venom contains two powerful anti-inflammatory agents, melittin and adolapin which appear to fight the neural sheath inflammation itself. One women with MS is quoted after two months of bee venom treatments: “My hearing was totally back and I was out of the wheelchair and walking with a cane”. Another example was a young women who had bladder problems.
After her venom treatments she hasn’t wet the bed since she first contracted MS. Others have noticed more balance, page 3 more energy and less numbness in there legs and feet. 9 Overall, whether it’s medication, exercise, rehabilitation, the most important factor in the treatment of this disease is to have a positive attitude, hope for the future, and a desire to live your life as you normally would from day to day. Socially MS can be just as difficult to fight as it is physically. Dating, marriage, children, careers, parents and friends can be difficult barriers emotionally. dating is hard for anyone regardless of sex, age, appearance or status in life. if your MS has visual symptoms that are apparent to others.
its best to be open right away. You should go about this in whatever way is most comfortable to you. for people with mild or invisible MS, disclosure to a dating can and probably should wait. Like any other person some relationships work out and some don’t . The best advice is to date, explore new relationships and don’t be afraid to fall in love.2 MS will have an impact on your marriage. Management of Ms requires patience and understanding. When your MS is in remission there may be no problem to face.
When you’re in a new attack, your mate need to take over shopping, cooking, mowing, and caring for the children if any. 2 the most patience and understandings comes to anned when a person with MS becomes disabled. this is the real test of love for most couples. this is when you should really take notice of what kind of problems you had before. Don’t expect your partner to feel guilty. if the marriage was meant to work it will work. If you have MS your children have probably already figured out that something is wrong before you tell them.
The best approach is to be honest with your children. with each knew attack there needs to be communication. parents with MS should watch their children for any emotional difficulties they may be having. Keeping your friends should not be a problem. Good reins stick by your side through everything.
Your friends should feel comfortable with you just as you should feel comfortable with them. With making new friends it should be just the same as you made them before. You should eventually tell them about MS but it can wait until both feel comfortable with talking about it. More often it is harder for someone with MS just to hang on to a job. unfortunately it has little to do with their ability and more to do with discrimination. But today there are laws and regulations so Know one with any disability should be fired or feel thy have to quit.2 Job hunting with Ms is a whole different issue.
if you have viable symptoms, you are going to have to address your situation up front . If you have an interview you may want to be up front about it on the phone. The main thing is if you feel comfortable with yourself others will to. You should always emphasize that you are a hard worker. And be aware of discrimination because it happens all the time and it is illegal. Overall i personally believe that Ms should not get in the way of your social life.
If you have a good personality you should be able to make friends and if you are a hard worker there is no reason why you should not be able to work. A positive way of thinking will definitely get you on your way. After MS patients have dealt with physical therapy, doctors, treatments and medications you may ask yourself where would therapeutic recreation come into the picture? The answer to that would depend on the person and what type of lifestyle and goals they had for themselves. today’s society is pushing everyone to physically and emotionally fit with activities such as mountain biking, swimming skiing, and walking. The reason these and many other activates are so popular is because its fun, its a hobby, receives stress and its exercise whereas riding a stationary bike is exercise but you don’t hear to many people say its their hobby or its a fun pastime.
TR(therapeutic recreation) come into place with people with MS and other mental and physical disabilities because their is a need for them to fulfill their goals and expectations like everyone else. Since they have a special need a TR program or specialist can help them fulfill that need. People with MS should have the maximum participation with the fewest adaptations. Just like any other part of their life style they should develop a leisure lifestyle that is normal a possible. I think it is important for Ms patients to choose their own activates and set their own goals, within reason.! 6 Lastly, I feel sensitive to anyone that contracts a disease, such as AIDS, or cancer.
Its an awful thing if someone was an IV drug user and than they contacted the Aids Virus or if some one smoked for thirty years and they were diagnosed with lung cancer. I think one of the hardest things about Ms is that you can be healthy or not healthy know one in your family could have it and then one day you show symptoms. Physiologically Yes that would be a difficult thing to deal with. But it is a disease that is striking millions of people and after doing research I believe the positive attitude and to go on with your normal way of living is the best psychological cure. It doesn’t stop you from living, having a job, a family, hobbies, or friends. Overall when they say MS is a mystery disease i would have to agree.
I think there is definite hope for a cure for the future. We have medical breakthroughs and have several clues to the disease.