The very good news is that MS is really not hereditary the way hair color or eye color are, for example. Your risk is in the range of 2-5%. The most important thing you can do is to be healthy, take Vitamin D and exercise. Take care of your own health. You can be a great support for your mother by being an MS resource for her, and in this way, become an expert for yourself, and the rest of your family, who are probably also worrying!! Participate in activities through the National MS Society, and the MS Association of America, as well as the Dana Foundation.
People with MS have been using it for years all over the world. It has been the most helpful for MS spasticity, painful spasms and pain. It also comes with side effects the most significant is usually cognitive problems. Since this is already an issue in MS it could become worse with continued marijuana use. Smoking also contributes to other health problems so if it is used, oral intake (brownies) or inhaled versions (vaporized) would be preferred over smoked. Always let your doctor know so any interactions with other medications or therapies can be evaluated.
I generally recommend someone accompany anyone to appointments for serious diseases, whether the disease affects their memory. The stress of the appointment and the complexity of the information can often be overwhelming. Having a friend along can help in so many ways.
You ask a very timely question. Recent studies suggest MS patients are living longer, probably due to disease-modifying therapies and early treatment. There is evidence is that co-morbidities- the things that get the rest of us such as HTN, Diabetes, etc, are equally important in MS patients. So important to attend to your general health, because this also fights your MS!
It depends… people with MS can gain strength in weak muscles but it’s hard to know if you’ll get all your strength back or not.
Chiropractic care may be very helpful for people with MS especially when the chiropractor is trained in MS. Massage therapy, heat and stretching have been used successfully to treat muscle spasms and pain in MS. It is important however to determine if there is another cause of the spasticity such as overheating, tight clothing, bladder infections or medication interactions.
There are other meds, such as tizanidine, to help spasms. But if sedation limits how high you can increase the medication, you may want to think about a baclofen pump. Look into intrathecal baclofen pumps- these can control the spasms without the sedation associated with high-dose anti-spasticity medications.
Yes, immune diseases do tend to run together, both in individuals and in families. People with one autoimmune disease are more likely to have another and are more likely to have family members with other autoimmune diseases.
It may be time to repeat your MRI of brain and cervical spine, to see if you are having more MS lesions. If there are more lesions, it may be time to think abot another disease-modifying therapy, that might be more effective for you. You may also need a regular medical checkup, and meanwhile, keep exercising and working on balance. I have heard the new Wii balance is fun and very helpful!
MS exacerbations occur when inflammation occurs and damages brain tissue. Our brains are able to recover to a limited degree but over time we see less and less recovery because there is an increased amount of damaged tissue. Early on most people are able to recover completely especially with physical therapy for physical symptoms. As time goes on it seems people are left with some symptoms. It is important not to give up on ongoing therapy to keep you as healthy and functional as possible.
Doing as much as you can to prevent or reduce relapses is also important with any of the disease modifying therapies.
Denise, given your ongoing symptoms I suggest you check in with your neurologist to see what they recommend. There are a number of new oral MS treatments now available so maybe one of these would be good for you.
It is possible that you may be moving into the secondary progressive phase of your MS after 21years. But you must keep fighting! Stay on your MS disease-modifying med, take Vit D, exercise and keep as active as possible! And take care of your general health- very important as well! MRI doesn't show as much after many eyars of MS. Make sure you are manging your symptoms as well as possible.
Deb, unfortunately there really aren’t any warning signs of an impending flare. That is one of the challenges of MS.
Do you have to have lesions?
Yes, you need to have lesions to meet what we call "McDonald Criteria". There must be evidence of dissemination in space and time. That is why we call it Multiple Sclerosis. Now if there are few brain lesions, or nolesions, Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) or Devic's disease can be considered- but those patients have extensive spinal cord lesions and optic nerve lesions. So lesions are really essential!
People with MS sometimes have cognitive processing problems and find themselves easily distracted by things that may not cause problems for others. Cognitive rehabilitation done by a neuropsychologist or sometimes speech therapists have been shown to be very helpful. Once the specific cognitive problem is identified the rehabilitation can focus on making the most of other cognitive functions. Trying to minimize distractions when doing things such as trying to inject medication is important. In the case of noise simple ear plugs may be helpful in noisy situations such as shopping in stores or being in noisy train stations.
The type of exercise that will help really depends on your specific problems and goals. For example, resistance exercise can help with weakness, aerobic exercise can help with fatigue and endurance. You may find the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for adults with MS helpful to guide you.
Flares can happen in SPMS but are rare, and certainly less frequent than in RRMS. SPMS is diagnosed by ongoing progression with few, if any, flares.
Maintaining a healthy weight is very important in MS. People who are overweight will have increasing difficulty doing everyday activites due to extra stress on their muscles and joints. They often experience more fatigue with routine activities. Being underweight can also be a problem in MS. Our bodies need good reserves of nutrients and vitamins to help maintain over all good health. This can help with fighting infection and doing activities of daily living.