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Multiple Sclerosis -- Adult

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by Alan R

(MS—Adult)

 

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests may include:
  • MRI scan to take pictures of internal structures around the brain and spinal cord
  • Sensory evoked potentials to record the electrical responses evoked after a sensory stimulus
  • Visual evoked potential test to look for problems in the brain that affect vision
  • Lumbar puncture to check the fluid around the brain and spinal cord, which may rule out other diseases
  • Blood tests to rule out other diseases that may mimic MS
 

Treatment

There is no cure for MS, you can manage the disease with medication, lifestyle changes, and counseling. Treatment will help relieve symptoms, prevent relapses, delay disability, and slow disease progression. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Supportive Therapies

Other therapies may help relieve some physical and emotional symptoms of MS. Each therapy has unique benefits and potential side effects which may interfere with other therapies you are using. Work with your medical team to help find therapies that work best for you. Supportive therapies include:
  • Regular moderate exercise with your doctor's permission—swimming may be especially beneficial
  • Physical therapy to help maintain muscle strength and tone, dexterity, and walking ability
  • Occupational therapy to help with assisted devices and daily living activities
  • Speech and/or swallowing therapy
  • Cognitive therapy to address specific neuropsychiatric problems
  • Stress reduction techniques
Some alternative therapies that have shown some benefits for some include:
Talk to your doctor before you try any alternative therapies.

Psychological Therapies

Individual or group therapy will help you learn coping strategies for physical symptoms and emotional stress.

Avoiding Periods of Relapse

Some forms of MS have periods remissions that alternate with relapses. Take these steps to help you avoid relapses and worsening of symptoms:
  • Adhere to the treatment plan you worked out with your doctor
  • Get adequate rest
  • Avoid hot weather
  • Stay in air-conditioned places during periods of hot weather
  • Avoid hot showers or baths
  • Avoid overexertion and stress
  • Avoid infection by:
    • Using proper hygiene
    • Staying away from people who are sick
    • Thoroughly cooking food
    • Practicing safe sex
  • Quitting smoking—smoking may worsen MS, causing the condition to progress to a more severe form
 

RESOURCES

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
http://www.mymsaa.org

National Multiple Sclerosis Society
http://www.nationalmssociety.org

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
http://mssociety.ca

 

References


About MS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society website. Available at: http://nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/index.aspx. Accessed September 5, 2013.


Ascherio A, et al. Vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Lancet Neurol. 2010;9(6):599-612.


Cohen JA, Barkhof F, et al. Oral fingolimod or intramuscular interferon for relapsing multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med. 2010;362(5):402-415.


FDA approves Ampyra to improve walking in adults with multiple sclerosis. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm198463.htm. Updated April 25, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.


International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium. Risk alleles for multiple sclerosis identified by a genomewide study. NEJM. 2007;357(9):851-862.


Kasper DL, Braunwald E, et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 16th ed. The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2006.


Kappos L, Radue EW. A placebo-controlled trial of oral fingolimod in relapsing multiple sclerosis. N Eng J Med. 2010;362(5):387-401.


Multiple sclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 5, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.


NINDS multiple sclerosis information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/multiple%5Fsclerosis/multiple%5Fsclerosis.htm. Updated July 5, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.


Rose JW, Carlson NG. Pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Continuum Lifelong Learning Neurol. 2007;13:35-62.


Treatments. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Available at http://www.nationalmssociety.org/about-multiple-sclerosis/what-we-know-about-ms/treatments/index.aspx. Accessed September 5, 2013.


Van der Mae IA, et al. Individual and joint action of environmental risk factors and MS. Neurol Clin. 2011;29:233-55.


1/4/2011 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Healy B, Ali E, Guttmann C, et al. Smoking and disease progression in multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 2009;66(7):858-864.


1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves first oral drug to reduce MS relapses. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm226755.htm. Updated April 19, 2013. Accessed September 5, 2013.


1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Kang JH, Sheu JJ, Kao S, Lin HC. Increased risk of multiple sclerosis following herpes zoster: a nationwide, population-based study. J Infect Dis. 2011;204(2):188-92.


4/25/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Rosti-Otajärvi EM, Hämäläinen PI. Neuropsychological rehabilitation for multiple sclerosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;2:CD009131.


4/25/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Yadav V, Bever C Jr, et al. Summary of evidence-based guideline: Complementary and alternative medicine in multiple sclerosis: Report of the Guideline Development Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 2014;82(12):1083-1092.

 

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