A Focus on Multiple Sclerosis

Published: 15/04/2019

As it's MS Awareness week soon, we thought we'd take a look at multiple sclerosis, a condition that affects over 100,000 people in the UK.

As the last week of April is MS Awareness Week, we’re taking a look at multiple sclerosis, a disease which affects over 100,000 people in the UK, two thirds of them women. With celebrities like Jack Osborne and actress Selma Blair revealing their MS diagnosis in recent years, it’s a condition that has often been in the headlines. Although this might mean more people have heard of multiple sclerosis, the symptoms and effects of the disease are perhaps not particularly well-known.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition where the immune system reacts abnormally, causing damage to the nerves of the Central Nervous System (the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves). This damage occurs in multiple places and scar tissue (sclerosis) develops on the affected areas – hence the name. This process affects the normal transmission of information that occurs between the brain and the body and within the brain itself, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. Common indicators include:
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Problems with balance and co-ordination
  • Visual disturbances and eye problems
  • Reduced cognitive function – memory problems, poor concentration
  • Unusual physical sensations – pain, tingling or numbness of the skin
  • Pain – muscle spasms, neuralgia
  • Continence problems
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Problems with speaking and swallowing
  • Mood disorders like depression
  • Mobility problems

How does MS develop?

As with any health condition, every person will vary in the way Multiple Sclerosis affects their life. The type and severity of symptoms will depend on the areas of the central nervous system that have been damaged and the category of MS the person has. There are 3 broad groups that MS diagnoses fall into:
  1. Relapsing remitting MS – the vast majority of people with MS have this form. The name describes the tendency to swing between times where the condition gets worse (when you have a relapse) and then improve significantly or disappear for a period of time (when you’re in remission).
  2. Secondary progressive MS – this is the phase that follows relapsing remitting MS and is when people often find their level of disability has increased. However, conversely, the number of relapses significantly decreases. The pace at which this develops varies widely and is unique to the individual.
  3. Primary progressive MS – rather than swinging from relapse to remission, the person experiences a gradual increase in their symptoms and level of disability from the outset.
Multiple Sclerosis is commonly diagnosed in younger people (in the 20-30 age bracket). It’s a common misconception that MS is a terminal condition, but this isn’t actually the case - while having the disease may mean someone is more at risk of developing a disability or other health problems, MS is a life-long condition that people can live with for many decades.
While there is no cure as yet, there are treatments as well as diet and lifestyle changes that can help someone with MS to manage their condition.

Bluebird Care Clapham & Streatham – Promoting Awareness to Improve Care

As a homecare company, we want to ensure that our care teams have a good awareness of a wide range of health conditions. Understanding what people are living with every day, enables us to promote excellence in care and give the very best support, tailored to our Customers’ exact needs. If you’re a healthcare professional, check out The MS Trust’s Health Professionals blog. It’s a great resource written by and for people working with those who are living with MS.

Whatever your age and whatever the health conditions you may be living with, we’re here for you - on the good days and the bad. From a weekly visit to 24-hour care, our Bluebird Care team can give you the support you need to continue living life to the full. To find out more about our homecare services in South London, get in touch.

You can get further information on living with Multiple Sclerosis from The MS Trust.