Multiple sclerosis – many people have already heard about it, many might have observed someone close afflicted by it and I know, a lot of us are going through it. Whatever our point is, let’s discuss the first thing – what’s Multiple sclerosis? I understand, the next issue that will pop into your mind is – does this you decrease our life expectancy just like many other ailments? Is there any cure and if not, could the symptoms be lessened so the patient can lead a normal life?
May be now you’re thinking how I’m choosing the perfect questions to ask. One of my very close acquaintances is living with it and if he was first diagnosed with it, these were the specific questions that struck me. Multiple sclerosis can be considered of an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system rather than protecting ourselves, begins working against it! In cases like this, our body’s immune system attacks the myelin of central nervous system that will result in impairment in mobility, fatigue, blurred vision, loss of equilibrium and even paralysis depending on the severity of damage.
Multiple sclerosis and aging are intertwined. It’s not like you will age before your time but the age related issues will be evident sooner in these patients. It was found that patients with multiple sclerosis are in a higher risk of developing urinary tract infections, cellulitis that is a skin disease caused by germs and also septicemia that’s also called blood poisoning disease where the bacterial disease gets into the bloodstream, with aging. So, don’t forget to keep an eye on them.
Moreover, with aging the potential for becoming physically disabled will tremendously increase. The question is how to handle it? In the previous stage, once the feeling of weakness in the leg begins, orthotics that might be worn inside shoes can give a real help to the foot muscles from getting stiff. Regardless of this, climbing stairs, walking could be troublesome with a weaker leg and do not you worry! Ankle foot brace’ can help you there! This braces work by stabilizing ankles once the foot muscles get weak so you can walk and get up stairs with more simplicity. What happens if one leg is more powerful than the other? Yes!
We’ve got solution for this one also. Take a cane on stronger side and change your body weight to the side so that moving or walking would get easier. If the damage is important in the two legs then walkers might be a great option as it provides support for both of your legs. If you wish more freedom, then I believe wheelchairs or power scooters might be the ideal option for you. Apart from this physical issues, 65 percent of multiple sclerosis patients suffers from cognitive impairment like not able to listen or focus, gets slow in preparation, data processing and last but not the least loss of memory.
Obviously these symptoms would get worse with aging. Don’t think yourself helpless here. The truth is many people couldn’t recall many important things. So, it’s better to write in notebooks or in computers, telephones and allow the electronics do the remembering! Now let us get more worried about the emotional difficulties. Older multiple sclerosis patients suffer with mental health issues mostly and still do not feel to visit a psychiatrist. Ignoring depression, anxiety, stress are a bad decision to fight this particular battle.
Counseling, occupational therapy could bring a positive change in your life that will assist you go through this. The most frightening thing about aging in multiple sclerosis patients is, a time will come when the family will begin seeing the individual as a burden as a result of his physical and psychological disability. I truly found it ironic that if the patients needed us most, we would like to turn them off! No, do not get scared, get ready.
You will need to handle things in a way so you can do your chores easily. And remember, you’re the fighter here. Don’t you ever give up, go for counselling, join with individuals having same problems like you, take assistance of a nurse or doctor, note down everything so you don’t forget, use assistive devices that might help you with mobility difficulties. See, life isn’t that difficult! Be strong, be ascertained, you’re not alone in this battle; we’re all here to assist you.