Friday, July 15, 2016

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis, or MS as others may call it, is a chronic disease that can exert its effects on your brain, spinal cord, and even the optic nerves in the eyes.  The toll multiple sclerosis may take on individuals can be rather devastating to the way they are used to going about their daily lives.  Having this condition can pose many problems and interruptions in your normal routines by causing problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions. 

The effects of multiple sclerosis and the problems it creates are often different from one person to the next with this disease.  Some individuals may only have mild symptoms that do not even require treatment, whereas others become affected so badly that they have trouble performing the tasks they are used to doing on their own.  This is where Total Home Health will come into your life and make it 100 percent better just by being there.  Our professional staff will be present in the comforts of your own home to assist you in performing your daily activities if and when your multiple sclerosis decides to take an unwanted turn. 

So how exactly does multiple sclerosis happen?  It happens when your immune system decides to attack a fatty substance in your body called myelin.  Myelin is the protective substance that wraps around your nerve fibers.  So, when your immune system attacks the myelin your nerves become damaged and scar tissue forms.  The damage that is done means that your brain can no longer send the correct signals throughout your body.  Therefore, with damage your nerves will not work properly in order for you to move and feel like you normally would.  With multiple sclerosis and the damage that is done to your nerves you could experience the following symptoms:

·      Trouble walking
·      Feeling tired
·      Weakness and/or spasms of muscles
·      Blurred vision
·      Double vision
·      Numbness and tingling
·      Poor bladder or bowel control
·      Pain
·      Depression
·      Decreased attention span
·      Difficulty remembering

Typically with multiple sclerosis, the first symptoms often are triggered between ages 20 and 40 years.  Most individuals with MS have attacks… relapses, which is when the condition gets noticeably worse.  For some, the relapses are usually followed by times of recovery when the individual is able to observe an improvement in their symptoms and get some sort of relief.  For others, the disease just continues to worsen with time and there is little, if any relief from their symptoms.  Some good news is, due to the ever-changing healthcare industry and continued research there is treatment options available that may help prevent relapses of MS and even slow down its progression.

At this point there really is no definitive cause of multiple sclerosis, but there are many things that make the disease more likely for individuals to acquire.  MS seems to be genetically linked; meaning those with certain genes may have higher chances of getting MS in their lifetime.  Smokers beware too, because you are also at an increased risk of MS happening to you.  Some individuals may even get MS or have a relapse after having a viral infection due to their immune system being compromised.  

Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can prove to be very difficult and take an extended period of time because its symptoms can be so similar to many other nerve disorders.  If you are diagnosed, your care will most likely be continued by a neurologist, or one who specializes in treating disorders that involve the brain and nervous system.  There is not a single test that can prove you have MS, rather your provider will use a variety in order to check you out.  These tests may include:

·      Blood tests
·      Imaging tests, such as a MRI to take a closer look at your brain
·      Spinal taps to check the fluid that runs through your spinal column
·      Electrical tests to see if, and to what extent MS has affected your nerve pathways

After diagnosis your provider will determine what treatment plan will be the best for you.  Although there is no cure for MS, most likely you will be prescribed medications in order to find relief from your symptoms, slow its progression, and help prevent future relapses. 

Upon your diagnosis you will probably have concerns about what the disease means for your life and for those around you.  Total Home Health understands this and we will be there for you to listen, answer your questions, talk through your concerns, follow your treatment plan, and treat you like one of our own.  Our team of professionals will communicate daily with you to determine your wishes, while keeping them at the forefront of all your treatment decisions to maintain your satisfaction,  and develop and keep a positive outlook all while making your day to day life as enjoyable as possible.  Keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference when you are faced with a condition such as MS, so enroll with Total Home Health today and we will become a great team…two is better than one!

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