People With Multiple Sclerosis Tips

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Is multiple sclerosis curable?

MS: Treatment and Prognosis

While there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, the Food and Drug Administration has approved three forms of beta interferon: Avonex, Betaseron and Rebif. These drugs treat relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis by reducing the number of exacerbations. It is thought to slow the progression of the physical disabilities associated with multiple sclerosis. Attacks are shorter and less severe.

Also approved is a synthetic form of myelin basic protein. This is called copolymer I. It also treats relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and studies have indicated that the relapse rate is cut by almost a third. For advanced or chronic multiple sclerosis, the FDA has approved an immunosuppressant treatment—Novantrone.

Doctors can diagnose multiple sclerosis in some patients right after the disease presents. In some patients, diagnosis eludes the patient and doctors. In cases such as this, patients may have years of uncertainty and many diagnoses because of symptoms that come and go. The disease tends to remit spontaneously and there is no treatment that is universally effective. Each patient is treated on an individual basis. What may work for one patient with multiple sclerosis may not work for another patient.

Does MS drug therapyhelp?

Multiple Sclerosis Therapy

There are many types of different therapy that can be done to make it easier to cope with multiple sclerosis, but there is no cure for the disease. For treating secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis, a number of drugs are available: particularly Rebif®, Betaseron® and Avonex®. These drugs have shown some impact on how fast secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis advances.

There are also disease-modifying drugs. These drugs regulate the immune system and appears to correct some things that are fundamental to the advancement of multiple sclerosis.

Chemotherapy also slows multiple sclerosis. Novantrone® is a common chemotherapy drug used in multiple sclerosis patients, but if a patient takes too much of it, the patient can suffer from heart damage. The doses of Novantrone® allowed over a lifetime is regulated. Chemotherapy kills the cells the contribute to multiple sclerosis, and the hope is that, when using chemotherapy, new, healthy cells grow back.

When trying to choose a type of drug therapy for multiple sclerosis, research all of the side effects for all of the drugs. With the help of your doctor, choose the least damaging drug that can help you.

Should I attend support group meetings?

Multiple Sclerosis Support

A multiple sclerosis support network brings people together, so that patients afflicted with multiple sclerosis can get together and share their stories—good and bad. Support groups help a person to know that he or she is not alone in coping with multiple sclerosis.

There are many support groups online and offline. Some online support groups also have links and/or contact information for local, offline support groups. Other information that can be located through online support groups is information on multiple sclerosis, social security disability information and chat rooms or forums.

Some sites also have links to clinical trials and other multiple sclerosis treatments, including news articles on multiple sclerosis. One site, even has podcasts that people with multiple sclerosis can listen to. It also has conferences for veterans that are suffering from multiple sclerosis.

The support provided by many of the online sites is extensive, and it also allows a person to remain anonymous, if he or she wishes.

Are there certain types of foods that should be eliminated from the diet if someone has multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis Diet

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Lesions (plaques) of inflammation build up in the white matter of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. These lesions cause a loss of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is an insulation for axons. Axons are responsible for speeding up the movement of the nerve impulses in the brain and spinal cord.

A diet designed for multiple sclerosis patients allows the patients to manage some of the common problems associated with multiple sclerosis. These problems include constipation, incontinence and fatigue. It is hypothesized that the cause of multiple sclerosis is diet-based: an excess or deficiency in a particular food, an allergic reaction to a particular food and the toxic effects of a food.

The general rules of a multiple sclerosis diet are:

Eat a diet high in protein and anti-inflammatory oils (such as found in nuts, seeds and cold water fish)

Eat orange, yellow and dark green vegetables

Eat whole grains (whole wheat, brown rice, oats, whole-grain corn)

People living with multiple sclerosis should avoid food allergens such as dairy, eggs, soy, citrus, tomatoes and chocolate. There are also other food allergens that belong in the list above: wheat, corn and peanuts. Also foods that contain gluten may cause problems. Refined foods, alcohol, caffeine and saturated fats should be removed from the diet.

Once all of the above-listed foods have been removed from the diet, the patient can add one type of food back into the diet. If that particular food does not negatively affect the patient, he or she can continue eating that type of food (i.e. wheat). If he or she notices negative affects, remove that food from the diet. When the body re-adjusts, he or she can try adding another food.

Does exercise help patients with multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis Exercise

Exercise can help retain flexibility and balance in patients with multiple sclerosis, especially when combined with stress reduction techniques and diet. Additional complications from inactivity only exacerbate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, so while exercise is not a cure, it can help stave off further complications and possibly slow the progress of the disease. Some of the additional complications include fatigue, incontinence and constipation.

The types of exercises a multiple sclerosis patient can do depend on how far the disease has progressed. If the patient is in the early stages of the disease, jogging, walking and aerobic exercises are helpful. If balance is already impaired, riding a stationary bicycle or working on a treadmill with handholds may work for the patient. Stretching exercises are also good for patients in most stages of multiple sclerosis.

If a patient with multiple sclerosis is already bed-ridden, a physical therapist should be consulted regarding bed exercises such as stretching. Occupational therapists can also be helpful in teaching the patient how to do self-care exercises.

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Lynne Christen