Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most widespread neurological diseases affecting young people around the world. Unfortunately, most people know little about this disease and how it impacts the lives of those with it. At AmeriBest Home Care Allentown, we believe in educating our communities about their and their loved one’s health. Here’s the 101 on MS to help you make the best choice in home health care for your loved one.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the body and the brain. The cause of MS is unknown. The disease triggers the immune system to attack the central nervous system. The resulting damage causes interruption of signals to and from the brain resulting in numbness, tingling, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness, and even paralysis. Because MS is unpredictable, each person’s experience with the disease is different, and losses may be temporary or long-lasting.
Risk Factors for MS
Researchers are still trying to determine the environmental factors that can lead to MS. For example, people with higher levels of vitamin D are less likely to have MS, suggesting that vitamin D deficiency could be a factor. While we try to learn other environmental factors of the disease, we do know that,
- Women are three times more likely than men to develop MS
- People with biological relatives with MS are more likely to develop it
- MS is not inherited, but the genetic predisposition may be
- Children of MS patients are 10 – 20 times more likely to develop MS than the general population
Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Because symptoms and severity of MS vary from person to person, the disease is difficult to diagnose. If you suspect you or your loved one may have MS, it’s vital to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional who concentrates on MS diagnosis and treatment, as they will be more likely to recognize and identify symptoms.
There is no cure for MS, so treatment focuses on managing symptoms. Because the disease is unpredictable, finding the right treatment is often a matter of trial and error. The focus is always in limiting the severity and length of MS attacks. Depending on symptoms and their severity as well as the progression of the disease, treatments can include,
- Corticosteroids to reduce nerve inflammation
- Plasma exchange (removing the liquid part from your blood and mixing your blood cells with a protein solution and returning it to your body)
- Interferon beta medications to interfere with the disease and increase nerve growth
- Glatiramer acetate to help block the immune system’s ability to attack nerve cells
- Monoclonal antibodies to target cells that attack the nervous system
- Daily or twice-daily oral medications that reduce relapse rates like teriflunomide and dimethyl fumarate
In addition, your doctor may recommend dietary changes, physical therapy, and other treatments to help manage symptoms or reduce their severity.
How Home Health Care Helps MS Patients
For those living with MS, life can be as unpredictable as the disease itself. One day may be fine, with the next bringing a sudden flare. It’s important that MS patients have knowledgeable caregivers who can help them meet their daily needs when MS attacks occur. When you choose a home care provider, consider the tasks you or your loved one needs assistance with on a daily basis and when an MS attack occurs.
Are You Looking for the Best Choice in Home Health Care in Allentown, PA?
If you’re looking for home health care for you or a loved one, contact us today.
One of our program coordinators can discuss your needs and help you select the program and services right for you.