What to Expect: Living with MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable illness that presents and progresses differently for everyone who has it. Most people will experience some numbness or weakness on one side of the body, eye pain, or vision issues. However, MS can also include tremors, tingling, balance issues, fatigue, dizziness, and bladder or bowel issues.
What to Expect Living with MS
Most people diagnosed with MS have relapsing-remitting MS. This type of MS causes flare ups where symptoms increase followed by some period of recovery. Individuals with primary or secondary progressive MS will see their symptoms gradually get worse over time.
While dealing with the symptoms of MS can be a challenge, many people with MS continue to live active, productive lives for many years by working with their doctors to control and manage symptoms. While MS typically shortens an individual’s lifespan by 5 to 10 years, treatments for MS have continued to close that gap.
While MS itself is rarely fatal, complications from MS can become life-threatening. Some of these complications include:
- Bacterial pneumonia
- Bladder infections
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Muscle stiffness or spasms
- Paralysis of the legs
Late-Stage MS: What to Expect
In late-stage or advanced MS, the symptoms of MS progress until the individual can no longer care for themselves on their own. Some of the symptoms of late-stage MS include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble speaking
- Incontinence, constipation, and urinary tract infections
- Impaired vision
- Decreased mobility
- Trouble swallowing
- Muscle spasms, stiffness, and cramps
- Nerve pain
- Cognitive issues
Living with MS and Comorbidities
People living with MS often have other health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, chronic lung disease, fibromyalgia, and bipolar disease. Comorbidities like these can lead to a more rapid progression of MS symptoms and reduce the individual’s quality of life.
Individuals who have progressed to advanced MS often find the support of hospice or palliative care helpful. Please call Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how we can help.
Please visit Crossroads’ multiple sclerosis information and resources page for more information.
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