Author Archives: Wendy Henderson

4 Things to Consider Before Getting a Service Dog

Having a service dog can greatly enhance the life of someone living with a chronic disease. They allow patients to regain some of their independence by helping with small everyday tasks like opening and closing doors, fetching meds, acting as a prop or support as their owner stands, switching on lights and attracting attention…

MS Martial Arts: Battle B-neath the Surface

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive neurological disease that develops when the myelin in the central nervous system is attacked, leading to a range of symptoms including mobility problems, numbness, vision problems, pain, and fatigue. MORE: Learn more about the different symptoms of multiple sclerosis In this Roche video aimed…

MS Stories: Tim’s Journey to Walk Again

This video made by Jack Barton is all about Jack’s father, Tim. Tim was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis nine years ago and has to undergo monthly intravenous treatments to keep his MS stable. He talks about coming to terms with the disease, how the diagnosis affected his family, how little…

Jack Osbourne Talks About His Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWJ2NW-BUNI In this MS Society video, Jack Osbourne admits that although he’s lived a fairly hedonistic lifestyle, the scariest moment of his life was when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). MORE: Jack Osbourne asks strangers to compete in a game show and test their knowledge of multiple sclerosis…

How Does Oxidative Stress Affect Multiple Sclerosis?

Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance in the body of free radicals. These free radicals damage proteins, lipids and nucleic acids, which in turn causes inflammation. The inflammation results in demyelination of the central nervous system and has a bearing on how severe a patient’s multiple sclerosis is. MORE:…

6 of the Best Apps for Chronic Illness Management

Managing a chronic illness can be difficult. There are many different medications to take (often at different times), appointments to remember, symptoms to keep track of, and lots of information to absorb. Thankfully, living in a digital age means that there are numerous mobile apps that can help you manage…

4 Types of Multiple Sclerosis-Related Tremors

Tremors are a common symptom of multiple sclerosis, experienced by around three-quarters of people with the condition, and one that often makes sufferers feel quite self-conscious. For most, the tremors will be mild and occur infrequently, but for some, the tremors may be more severe. There are four different types of tremors associated…

9 Ways Multiple Sclerosis Affects Your Body From Head to Toe

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic illness that presents many different symptoms since it can affect any part of the human body. While no two people living with MS will experience the same symptoms, there are some more common ways the condition affects the body. Brain: Cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory and concentration problems are common for people living with MS and many experience vertigo or dizziness. In rare cases, patients may also suffer from tremors or seizures. Eyes: Vision problems are often one of the first signs of MS. Double vision, blurred vision and eye pain can come on suddenly but in most cases, they are temporary and are due to inflammation of the muscles around the eye and can be rectified with medication. Ears: In rare cases of MS, damage to the brainstem may result in hearing problems or deafness. Again, the majority of cases are temporary but some may suffer permanent damage to hearing. Mouth and throat: Around 40 percent of people living with MS may experience problems with speech, usually slurred speech or trouble articulating. Some may also have trouble controlling the volume of their speech. Rarer still, some people may experience problems with swallowing which can be serious as it can lead to choking. Speech and language therapists can help with both speech and swallowing problems. Arms and legs: The limbs are most likely to be affected by multiple sclerosis, with patients suffering from a variety of ailments such as pain, numbness, and tingling. Both fine and gross motor skills are involved as hand-to-eye coordination may be affected and many will suffer from balance problems or have difficulty walking as the disease progresses. Bladder and bowel: Nerve damage can lead to problems controlling the bladder and bowel. Bladder problems are extremely common in MS affecting around 80 percent of patients. Bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea and lack of bowel control can sometimes be managed through diet and exercise but in some cases, medication or surgery may be required. Reproductive system: There is no evidence that suggests MS affects fertility in men or women. And for women, many find that their MS goes into remission during pregnancy. However, between 20 percent and 40 percent will relapse after they have given birth. Sexual dysfunction is common in MS, this could be due to a variety of reasons both physical and emotional. Nerve damage, fatigue, general pain and the effects of depression can all have an effect on a person's libido. However, these can often be overcome with some medication or a little bit of planning. Skeletal Structure: The regular use of steroids and lack of exercise puts multiple sclerosis patients at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Exercise is important to help keep bones strong and healthy and to avoid excess bone density loss. People with multiple sclerosis are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, which plays a vital role in bone health. Heart: Researchers have discovered that women with MS are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems than those without the condition. Regular exercise and a good diet are essential to help avoid problems such as stroke, heart disease or heart failure.

7 Strange Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that is unique to each patient, which means no two people suffer from identical symptoms. While there are many symptoms MS patients share such as pain and chronic fatigue, there are also some very strange and unusual symptoms that some may experience.  We’ve put together a…

5 Things to Know About the New MS Drug Ocrevus

The multiple sclerosis community has been waiting with bated breath for the approval of the drug Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), which will be used to treat patients who have relapsing MS and primary progressive MS. The FDA’s decision of final approval arrived on March 28, which coincides with Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week. In preparation for…

John’s Story: ‘I Am More Than MS’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht3Z6-m6LIU In this video from Patients Like Me, John shares that although he’s suffering from the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), he’s definitely much more than the disease. MORE: How doctors treat spasticity in MS John explains that when the MS symptoms he was experiencing began…

5 Benefits of Cannabis Tea for Chronic Illnesses

Medical marijuana is gaining popularity as a complementary medicine to help with many symptoms associated with chronic illnesses. While many people are curious about how marijuana (or cannabis) may help improve their symptoms, they are also reluctant to smoke the substance. However, there are ways that medical marijuana can be administered, including in tea form. According to thealternativedaily.com, here are five ways that cannabis tea can help relieve some of the symptoms people with chronic diseases live with. Relieves pain: Marijuana has been associated with pain relief for centuries. Researchers have found the cannabinoids in marijuana dampen pain signals by binding to the pain receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). In contrast to opiates such as morphine or codeine, cannabis is not addictive and poses no withdrawal symptoms to patients. Cannabis-infused tea is delivered to the whole of the body through the digestive system so the effects are longer lasting and more efficient than smoking. Reduces inflammation: Medical marijuana has been found to reduce inflammation associated with many autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus. It also helps to temper the body's immune system making it less likely to attack itself. Protects the brain: Studies of cannabis's effect on the brain have found that the drug has a neuroprotective effect and appears to slow down or even block the beta-amyloid protein build-ups associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Promotes digestive health: Many chronic illnesses present symptoms which affect the gastrointestinal system. Cannabis has been found to improve digestion and relieve symptoms such as cramping, stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, constipation and acid reflux. Mood enhancer: While smoking cannabis may produce mind-altering effects that most people are weary of, drinking cannabis tea can help with stabilizing mood and helping to relieve emotional symptoms associated with chronic illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

5 Tips for Parenting With Multiple Sclerosis

Living with an unpredictable illness can be tough at the best of times, but when you're a parent, it can often cause unforeseen problems. Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) is no different — you'll have to continue being a parent, but you'll also have to manage your condition. However, there are ways that you can make life easier for you and your family as you navigate parenthood, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Be Honest: Children are often more resilient than we give them credit for. Explain your condition, how it may progress and what it means for you as a family on a day-to-day basis. Take Care of Yourself :The better you feel, the more energy you'll have for your family. Overdoing things can knock you off your feet for days, increasing fatigue and general unwellness. Learn to plan, pace and prioritize. Decide what's important to do today and what can wait until another time when you're feeling better. Eat well, try to sleep well, get some daily exercise and ensure you comply with your medications. Teach Understanding: Make sure your children understand that there will be days when you can't take them to the park, or have to cancel plans at the last minute. Make sure you have a stash of things younger children can do at home to occupy themselves while you rest (watching DVDs or playing board games). Make sure they know how to help when you're going through a flare. Focus on What You Can Do: Maybe you can't play ball with your children in the backyard, but you might be able to do arts and crafts with them. Find something fun that you can do together as a family on a regular basis. Delegate: Partners, older children and other family members should pitch in around the house and take an equal share of the chores. Even young children can be given some age-appropriate chores to do, such as putting away their toys or making their beds. This will allow you more time and energy to spend doing fun things with the family.

Dancing Doodle

Did you know some of the news and columns on Multiple Sclerosis News Today are recorded and available for listening on SoundCloud? These flash briefings give our readers an alternative option for accessing information important for them.

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