Multiple sclerosis – commonly known as ‘MS’ – is a neurodegenerative disease, which affects a person’s brain and spinal cord.
Whilst MS can be categorised into different types, it affects everyone diagnosed differently due to the way it manifests itself.
What causes MS?
Multiple sclerosis is caused by your immune system attacking your nervous system, which damages your nerve cells. This is why symptoms, such as vision and movement problems, can emerge.
Symptoms can typically include (but are not limited to):
- Blurred vision
- Problems with thinking, learning, and planning
- Balance issues
- Numbness and tingling
- Muscle spasms, stiffness, and weakness
- Mobility problems
Whilst this list is exhaustive, many people only have a few of these symptoms.
MS is usually diagnosed in people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, but it can develop at any age in life. It is the most common disability diagnosed in younger adults and is diagnosed two to three times more in women than men.
The predicted number of people living with MS in the UK is 130,000, although around 7,000 people are diagnosed with it each year.
It usually starts in two ways, either:
- Relapses (such as attacks)
- Gradually progression
Types of multiple sclerosis
There are three main types of multiple sclerosis, and you can have more than one type in your life:
- Relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis: The first type of MS is relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). In RRMS, people have attacks of both new and old symptoms, called relapses. They can last for anything from days to months. The period between attacks is called remission, which can last months to years. Around 85 per cent of people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed with RRMS. Here, the disability doesn’t get worse between attacks, although it can get worse after each relapse takes place as the body struggles to recover.
- Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: The second type of MS is secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS). This can typically come after having had RRMS. Whilst you may have had multiple relapses in the past, it is unlikely you will get them with SPMS. Instead, your condition will either get progressively worse on its own, or you may have a relapse that you don’t properly recover from.
- Primary progressive multiple sclerosis: The third type of MS is primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Here, the condition is progressive from the beginning. There will be no relapses, and instead, the disability will get worse over time. The symptoms, however, are the same as with the other two types of MS.
Treatment and support
Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis at the moment, there are types of treatment and therapies which can be utilised to help ease symptoms and reduce relapses.
Some types of treatments used include disease moderating therapies (DMT), and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), which manage the MS itself as opposed to the symptoms.
Many people find lifestyle changes can also help them manage their MS symptoms, including giving up smoking and improving diet and exercise.
Some people may benefit from having a care plan put in place to help manage their needs that are associated with MS.
At Almond Care, we understand that MS is individual to each person diagnosed with it, and so with our holistic approach, we specialise in creating care plans that are tailored to everyone.
If you would like more information about our care plans for people with multiple sclerosis, please contact us today.