Home Care Support for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the neurological system and is diagnosed in young adulthood. About 400,000 Americans have been diagnosed with MS, and about 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Experts are unsure of the cause of MS, though they believe that a number of factors, including genetics, childhood infections and positioning on the globe are involved.
What is MS?
MS is the most common neurological disorder in young adults. It is a disease of the central nervous system - the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. Although the cause of this non-contagious disease is not fully understood, scientists know that it is characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, which is the covering of the nerve cells in the body. This damage, which is brought about by inflammation, causes nerve signals to slow down or stop. This then causes the symptoms of the disorder.
Symptoms come and go, and tend to worsen over time as the nerves deteriorate. Symptoms can also vary, because they depend on which nerves are affected and the extent of the damage. Depending on which nerves are damaged - which part of the brain or spinal cord - symptoms can occur in many parts of the body. However, common symptoms include loss of balance, muscle spasms, numbness or another abnormal sensation in any area, problems moving arms or legs, as well as bowel and bladder issues. Individuals may also experience double vision, eye discomfort or loss of vision, as well as hearing loss, memory loss or other cognitive problems. There can also be sexual symptoms, speech problems and fatigue.
MS affects everyone who receives a diagnosis differently. Some people have symptoms for a short period of time and then go symptom-free for months or even years. Others have symptoms more regularly. The disorder is chronic and currently has no cure, but life expectancy is usually normal or almost normal. Most people with MS continue to function normally for 20 years after diagnosis or more.
Treatment for MS aims to slow the progression of the disease and control symptoms so patients can maintain a high quality of life. In addition to prescription medications, certain therapies and lifestyle changes can improve an individual's condition.
Home Care Support for People With MS
Interim HealthCare has extensive experience in helping individuals and their families live with MS. Trained professionals can customize a program that:
- Provides medication reminders, assistance and administration
- Helps with the activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing
- Provides relief to the individual’s caregivers by assisting with routine home management issues such as housekeeping or laundry.
- Promotes mobility through physical therapy
- Enhances independence with activities of daily living through occupational therapy
- Maintains effective speech and swallowing through speech language pathology treatments
- Attends to problems of elimination, such as catheter management, bowel management