Have you been recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? Here are ten things you should know to help you prepare for every treatment, symptom, and both the physical and emotional toll the disease will have on you.
Multiple Sclerosis: The Impact
A diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can have a huge and frightening impact on ones self. You may feel like you are alone, and secluded in your feelings, but it’s important to remember that you are not. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common types of neurological diseases in many young adults.
The Autoimmune disease strikes most individuals between the ages of 20 and 40 years old. There are about 400,000 people in the United States alone that suffer from the disease; this is just a portion of the 2.1 million people throughout the world that have MS. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society there is a new diagnosis of MS every hour. The positive outlook in all these statistics is that with new treatment methods, and coping mechanisms, MS Symptoms can be managed successfully. Being handed a diagnosis of MS in today’s time is a lot different than it was in the past. This is due in part to the new and very promising treatment methods that do a wonderful job of controlling symptoms. Let’s take a look further at ten things you should know when you are first diagnosed with MS.
Ten Ways to Help You Cope with Your Diagnosis
When you are newly diagnosed, it can be rather overwhelming in the beginning, here are some ways to help you deal, and cope with your new lifestyle.
1. Learn As Much As You Can
Dive deep into Multiple Sclerosis and what it is. There are so many different misconceptions out there about the disease that you can get easily confused from the get go. Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is typically cased when your immune system attacks the protective covering of the nerve fibers in ones brain and spinal cord. These fibers are known as myelin. Your doctor is your best friend when it comes to the latest updates and facts about MS.
2. Understand That Symptoms Vary and Are Unpredictable
No one has the exact same symptoms of MS and your symptoms will even vary from time to time. Some common MS Symptoms can include blurry vision, a loss of balance and coordination, tremors, fatigue, memory problems, bladder issues, blindness, numbness and many more. But even these symptoms are unpredictable.
3. Get a Definitive Answer About Your Diagnosis
MS is a tricky disease to diagnose, so it’s important to get a definitive answer about your diagnosis. Many different tests such as MRI’s and EP’s as well as Spinal Taps can be conducted to help get the answers you are looking for. Talk to your doctor and let them know you want a clear cut answer before looking at your treatment options.
4. Do Not Delay Your Treatment
The main goal of the MS treatment options is to help improve the quality of your life and control your symptoms. After you receive a definitive diagnosis it’s very important to start your MS treatments as soon as possible. The disease can end up progressing and lead to possible disability if treatment is delayed for too long.
5. MS Can Have Flare Ups and Triggers
While you may be feeling great, and your symptoms hardly noticeable it’s important to remember from the get go that you can have flare ups in your symptoms. In addition there are some possible triggers to MS flare ups that include a decrease in sunlight, viral infections and a vitamin D deficiency. It’s important to speak with your doctor about these to see if they are cause for concern.
6. You Can Live a Full Live Even With MS
By eating healthy and getting exercise you can help to live a full and happy life even with MS. Avoiding common triggers like stress, heat, and infections can help reduce the number of flare ups in your symptoms. It’s important to realize your limitations when it comes to work and home life to not over push yourself.
7. Learn to Track Your Symptoms
By keeping a detailed record of your MS symptoms you can help your doctor figure out how the disease itself is progressing along and whether your treatment options are working. This will help your doctor to determine when a relapse has occurred to help pin point some common triggers during this time.
8. Stay Surrounded by Family and Friends
By keeping yourself surrounded by those that love you, you will feel you are not alone in your journey. It’s important to always remember that while you are the one with MS, the whole family is impacted and affected by your diagnosis, and they are there to help.
9. There is No Cure Only Treatment Options
Right now there is no cure for MS, but it’s always important to have hope. The treatment options of MS have advanced so much, that it’s much easier today to live with the disease than it was before. And who knows with the medical advancements seen now, a cure may be on the horizon.
10. Reach Out For Help
If you begin to feel overwhelmed or frustrated, it’s important to reach out for help. This can be from your doctor, to help answer any questions or concerns you may have, or family and friends to provide emotional support and connections that you need during this time. Always remember you are not alone.