Category Archives: multiple sclerosis

3 Dating Tips When You Have Multiple Sclerosis

Three Tips for Dating with Multiple Sclerosis

Receiving a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can feel overwhelming, and you may assume that dating will no longer possible. However, new treatments have enabled people living with MS to forestall disabling symptoms for a far longer time period than in the past. The typical onset of MS symptoms is between 20-50 years of age (per the National Multiple Sclerosis Society [NMSS]). Tingling and numbness in legs and feet are often the first symptoms experienced by a person afflicted with MS, but these symptoms may be caused by many other disorders.

Regardless of the initial symptoms that resulted in a doctor’s visit leading to an MS diagnosis, you do not have to resign yourself to remaining alone if you really want intimacy and/or marriage in your future.  The following describes the most common forms of MS and their symptoms, as well as three tips for dating with specific MS symptoms.

What is Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis?

Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common of the three forms of MS, and also the most treatable form. Unlike Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) or Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), symptoms can spontaneously appear and disappear in people afflicted with RRMS. Weakness in the feet and hands (and blindness) can occur, but can also spontaneously resolve. Emerging treatments are enabling people with RRMS to avoid developing most of the symptoms leading to an inability to perform in a workplace role.

Notably, an article in 2018 in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry reported that early treatment can halt neurological damage from MS from worsening, so beginning a medication regimen as soon as possible after an MS diagnosis is crucial.

Two Types of Progressive Multiple Sclerosis

In contrast to RRMS, the neurological damage associated with Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) or Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) is typically not reversible. However, the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) notes that only 15 percent of all people with MS are diagnosed with PPMS. Meanwhile, SPMS usually occurs in people diagnosed with RRMS who do not receive early treatment.

Since the neurological damage that occurs with these two above-described MS forms is irreversible, people diagnosed with either PPMS or SPMS are more likely to have more obvious symptoms (e.g., an inability to pick up a fork). The NMSS notes that 50 percent of people with RRMS who do not take medication develop SPMS within 10 years.

Once damage to the myelin sheath occurs (due to the immune system attack on the central nervous system), it is more likely to become even more damaged. This is why medication plays such an important role in preventing the neurological damage leading to paralysis.

Dating Tip Number One – Recognise and Respect Your Own Limitations

You may not be able to walk without a cane to meet your date, so it makes sense to use it when needed. While your mobility may not be affected to the point of needing a wheelchair, your date will not appreciate it if you try to hide (or minimize) a real disability.

There is nothing shameful about needing a cane (or a wheelchair), or being unable to pour yourself a glass of water from a pitcher in a pub. Most people like to help strangers who need assistance, and you probably do not want to begin an intimate relationship with someone who displays no compassion for disabled people. Therefore, hiding your disability from your date will not enable you to know whether you have really met a man or woman you might want to eventually marry.

Dating Tip Number Two – Coping with Fatigue

People living with MS often experience periods of fatigue (and hot weather is more likely to produce a feeling of tremendous fatigue). If you are dining in a pub or restaurant in summer that does not have air conditioning, you may feel fatigued more quickly than usual. For this reason, choosing a comfortable place for a date (that is not over-heated due to lack of air conditioning) is advisable.

Dating Tip Three – Coping with Cognitive Impairments

Many adults who have lived with MS for a long time experience some short-term memory loss. This is one of the most embarrassing symptoms of MS, and one that you may need to explain to someone you are dating. Otherwise, your memory impairment (or pseudobulbar affect – resulting in inappropriate laughing or crying) may be misunderstood by that person.

One way to cope with short-term memory loss is to keep a journal to jot down important things you learned about the other person on each date that you want to remember. Meanwhile – if you know that you have pseudobulbar affect – it is best to tell the man or woman you are dating as soon as possible about this affliction.

Utilizing an online disabled dating platform  to meet compatible people to date is as much an option for adults with disabilities as anyone else. You may even meet someone with a hidden disability that shares the same hopes and fears as you. There is someone who understands the issues faced by people with MS that will be interested in dating you, so go ahead and take a chance!

New Hope for Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers

 

It has been a long time coming BUT it looks as if scientists have finally come up with a  drug that alters the immune system which has been described as “big news” and a “landmark” in treating multiple sclerosis, doctors and charities say.  If this is the case then Disabilitymatch enthusiastically welcomes this news and hopes that it will be quickly available for our members and the wider disabled community at the earliest possible date.

Trials, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggest the drug can slow damage to the brain in two forms of MS.

Ocrelizumab is the first drug shown to work in the primary progressive form of the disease.

The drug is being reviewed for use in the US and Europe.

MS is caused by a rogue immune system mistaking part of the brain for a hostile invader and attacking it.

It destroys the protective coating that wraps round nerves called the myelin sheath.

The sheath also acts like wire insulation to help electrical signals travel down the nerve.

Damage to the sheath prevents nerves from working correctly and means messages struggle to get from the brain to the body.

This leads to symptoms like having difficulty walking, fatigue and blurred vision.

The disease can either just get worse, known as primary progressive MS, or come in waves of disease and recovery, known as relapsing remitting MS.

Both are incurable, although there are treatments for the second state.

Ocrelizumab kills a part of the immune system – called B cells – which are involved in the assault on the myelin sheath.

In 732 patients with progressive MS, the percentage of patients that had deteriorated fell from 39% without treatment to 33% with ocrelizumab .

Patients taking the drug also scored better on the time needed to walk 25 feet and had less brain loss detected on scans.

In 1,656 patients with relapsing remitting, the relapse rate with ocrelizumab was half that of using another drug.

Prof Gavin Giovannoni, from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, was involved in the trials and said: “The results shown by these studies have the potential to change how we approach treating both relapsing and primary progressive MS.”

He told the BBC: “It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MS.”

More than 100,000 people are diagnosed with MS in the UK, around one-in-five are progressive.

Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the MS Society, commented: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.

“It’s the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.”

The drug is being considered by the European Medicines Agency and the US Food and Drug Administration.

But Prof Giovannoni warned that patients in the UK may be disappointed as it may be hard for the NHS to fund everyone getting a drug that is likely to be expenseive.

He told the BBC: “I would expect a narrow group of people to be eligible.”

Dr Peter Calabresi, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, added: “This is the first drug to show a significant effect in slowing disability progression in a phase three trial in primary progressive multiple sclerosis and therefore represents a landmark study in the field.”

But he warned doctors to “stay vigilant” because of the risk of side-effects.

Weakening the immune system increases the risk of infection and of cancer emerging.

Via bbc.co.uk

Multiple Sclerosis and Exercise – Important New Facts.

Disabilitymatch has many users with MS so we were very interested with this article which talks about the relationship between multiple sclerosis and physical exercise.  If you have any thoughts please leave a comment below or tweet us @disabilitymatch.

It can cause a wide range of symptoms including difficulties with the movement of limbs, changes in vision, and problems with balance and sensation.

Although there is no cure, scientists have demonstrated that, for individuals with mild to moderate disability, exercise can improve the severity of certain symptoms.

Exercise has been shown to increase muscular strength and aerobic capacity and improve the individual’s sense of wellness. Additionally, there is some evidence that exercise might help slow the progression of MS, although the data is conflicting.

How exercise reduces the symptoms of MS is not known, but researchers believe that it could be due to the modulation of immune factors or stress hormones, or perhaps by altering the expression of neuronal growth factors.

A number of MS risk factors are known; for instance, the condition is more prevalent in women than men, and it seems to have links with certain infections, including Epstein-Barr. White people and those who live in temperate climates are also more likely to develop MS. However, the full list of risks is yet to be uncovered.

One potential risk factor that has received some attention from scientists is the level of exercise an individual is involved in prior to the onset of MS. It is commonly believed that a higher level of physical activity reduces the risk of MS; however, this is still very much up for debate.

Findings are contradictory or unclear; for instance, some studies have shown that individuals who develop MS tend to be more physically active before onset; others showed no difference in pre-onset activity.

However, earlier studies did not use detailed, validated questionnaires to assess physical activity levels. There is also a confounding variable that makes some of the results difficult to interpret. Two of the early symptoms of MS are weakness and fatigue. So, did the lack of physical exercise promote the onset of MS, or was the lack of exercise a sign of the onset of MS?

A team of scientists from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, MA, recently set out to investigate whether physical activity has an effect on MS risk once and for all. Their results are published this week in the journal Neurology.

The team took data from more than 193,000 women who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II; these individuals were followed up for 20 years, starting in 1976. Each woman completed detailed questionnaires about their current levels of physical activity and also their activity levels as teens and young girls. Over the course of 20 years, 341 women developed MS.

Once the data were collated, the researchers calculated the hours of exercise each individual carried out per week and what types of exercise they did. The group adjusted the results for ethnicity, age, smoking, place of residence at the age of 15, BMI at 18, and vitamin D supplement intake.

After the analysis had been completed, the data showed that, contrary to expectation, exercise was not correlated in any way to the appearance of MS.

“Overall, there was no consistent association of exercise at any age and MS. Exercise has been shown to be beneficial to people with the disease, but it seems unlikely that exercise protects against the risk of developing MS.”

Via medicalnewstoday.com