April 17, 2015
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Multiple Sclerosis

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MS Treatment Check-Up Guide

Are you taking the most of your MS therapy? Evaluate your current MS treatment and get some guidance to have a discussion with your neurologist.

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MS Treatment Options

Do you know all your treatment options? Learn about the MS disease-modifying therapies.

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Patient Experience Articles:

Multiple Sclerosis Coping Strategies

MS Ambassador Gabriella Mammone shares her real-life coping strategies for multiple sclerosis. Find out more.


Treat MS by preserving your ability

Preserving your ability - or preventing disability - is key when you're challenged with multiple sclerosis (MS). Preservation of ability allows you the freedom to lead a normal life. By focusing your efforts on maintaining your ability, you choose to actively fight MS. You may not be able to stop it in its tracks, but by working with your neurologist you can target your efforts to lead a more satisfying life - a life not constantly shadowed by MS.

Living in the moment is critical when you have MS. Your treatment plan with your neurologist should focus on maintaining your abilities now, and not waiting until you experience a decline. The common goal of preserving your ability will allow you to focus on the positive and see the possibilities rather than the disabilities associated with MS.

There are effective treatments that allow you to live with MS without it dominating your life. Concentrating your energies on preserving your ability is a positive and effective way of facing MS. You may not be able to change your diagnosis but you can change the way you manage it.

Early treatment with disease-modifying medications has been shown to effectively allow people with MS to continue to lead a vibrant and active life. Treating the disease early before it progresses allows you to meet life's challenges and not let MS dictate your day-to-day existence.

The benefit of early treatment is sustainability

Early treatment with disease-modifying therapies is an effective way to maintain your ability and slow the progression of the disease. The majority of people with MS have the relapsing-remitting type, and more than 50% of these people will go on to develop secondary progressive MS over time.

For people with either secondary or primary progressive types of MS, relapses persist in about 40% of people, which is fewer than in the relapsing-remitting type, but they experience a steady increase in disability.

It takes an average of 8 years to reach the irreversible Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) level 4.

The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) is a standard assessment that doctors use to help measure disability in MS. The scale ranges from 0 to 10, with higher numbers indicating more severe impairment and disability.

Disease-modifying therapy works to reduce the frequency of relapses and can effectively help slow the progression of disability and allow you to remain able-bodied.

What does preventing damage and preservation of ability mean to you? Simply put, if you preserve the ability, you delay the disability. Research suggests that the reduced life expectancy that some MS patients face can be attributed to being bedridden and the complications that come from being chronically disabled.

The importance of preserving ability cannot be underestimated. Can you stop MS? No, but you can alter the course of the disease by slowing it down allowing you to maintain ability and lead a more full and active life. Learn more about MS.

The goal is maintaining ability!

It's critical to work with your neurologist to actively maintain a low EDSS score. A low EDSS score means you remain fully active and can function on a daily basis. It also means that you are able to walk without a cane, crutches, or a brace. It means freedom - freedom to work, exercise, and travel. It means being able to be up and about for 12 hours, and most importantly it means independence - the ability to remain self-sufficient. Maintaining a low EDSS can help preserve the dignity that comes from being self-reliant.

Experts agree that treatment with a disease-modifying medication should begin as soon as you have been diagnosed with MS. Research shows that disease-modifying medications can effectively delay irreversible disabilities, as measured by the EDSS.

Part of preserving your ability is to remember to stay connected to your life. Involve yourself with family and friends, pursue the pastimes you've always loved, make time for hobbies, or go for a daily walk. Keep your immune system strong by eating a healthy diet and ensuring that you get enough rest.

Together, early treatment and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices are your best insurance for protecting your long-term ability.

The nature of the disease keeps MS at the forefront of people's life. Early treatment can help keep this unwanted intruder where it belongs - in the background. Always present, but controlled and managed. Keep reading for more information on medications used to treat MS.

Is it time to talk to your neurologist about your MS?

Evaluate your current MS treatment and get some guidance to have a discussion with your neurologist. Your neurologist can help you make sure you are getting optimal treatment to best manage your MS.

Just answer the questions and bring the results with you to your next appointment.

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