Multiple Sclerosis: Answering Questions About This Disabling Disorder

MS_answersWhenever a person is diagnosed with a disease or disorder that will change the way she lives life, she’s likely to have many questions about the issues and challenges she’ll face and how to best manage her life moving forward.

Here are some clarifying answers to frequently asked questions about MS.

 

What Are the Warning Signs of MS?

The warning signs of MS aren't always obvious, and they’re different for every patient. Symptoms can be intermittent in the early stages of this disease—and a person may experience one symptom for a while and then no symptoms for months or years.

However, here's a brief look at some symptoms that are the most common first signs of the disease:

  • Weakness and fatigue. Approximately 80 percent of people diagnosed with MS have unexpected muscle weakness in the early stages of the disease. This weakness usually begins in the legs, and the patient may feel numbness or tingling in the limbs. He may experience severe exhaustion that goes on for a long period of time.
  • Vision problems. An early sign of MS is a problem with eyesight—in fact, it’s often the very first symptom of someone developing MS. This disease can cause inflammation of the optic nerve, and a person may experience blurry vision or double vision at the onset of MS. Additionally, there may be lesions in the area that controls eye movement, and a patient may have blindness in one eye.
  • Memory complications. It’s common for a person with MS to have cognitive problems because this disease impacts the brain. Patients may have a shorter attention span, memory issues, and trouble being organized. However, less than 10 percent of people with an MS diagnosis suffer from cognitive issues severe enough to impact their daily routine.
  • Bladder problems. A person with MS may experience frequent urination, strong urges to go to the bathroom, or incontinence.

Is There a Special Diet That Can Improve the Symptoms of MS?

There isn't special diet recommended for people suffering from MS. However, certain foods and approaches to eating have been shown to help improve some of the symptoms of MS. Here's a brief look at some of the findings regarding diet and MS:

  • A diet that incorporates very few vegetables but is high in sugar, salt, and fat, has been linked to an increased risk of developing MS. Additionally, those who are obese have a higher risk. Thus, there may be indications that diet may play a role in developing this disease.
  • While researchers haven't discovered a diet to cure MS or slow or reverse the damage of this disease, some dietary regiments have been helpful for managing symptoms. More specifically, those diets that were found to be helpful did so in reducing fatigue. Researchers have found that a nutritional plan low in fat, sugar, and processed foods but high in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is considered a “common-sense approach” for people dealing with MS. This type of diet helps reduce fatigue, and if a patient adheres to this diet for an extended period of time, it can help improve some of the other symptoms of MS, including bowel and bladder problems. Additionally, eating within these parameters can help improve mental and emotional health.

Can Women With MS Still Have Children?

Having MS doesn't prevent a woman from becoming pregnant or having a safe, normal pregnancy. And researchers have no evidence that MS interferes with fertility. In fact, pregnancy is linked to an MS remission—especially when the mother is in the second and third trimesters. Pregnancy seems to have a slightly protective effect on a woman’s MS symptoms—however, about six months after the birth of the child, there's a slightly higher risk of an MS relapse.

Will People With MS End Up in a Wheelchair?

It’s not true that people who suffer from MS will rely on a wheelchair for mobility. In fact, for a great majority of MS patients, this won’t be the case. Many people with this disease are able to walk without help, and even engage in moderate exercise. Because there are disease-modifying drugs and treatments available, more patients stay mobile for longer periods of time. However, patients with advanced conditions who can still walk may choose to use a cane, scooter, or wheelchair to prevent falling or to conserve energy.

We Can Help

If your MS makes it difficult for you to sustain gainful employment and you need disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the attorneys at Cuddigan Law can help. We offer skilled legal advice to step you through the application process to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. If your claim is denied, we can help you file an appeal. Call us today at (402) 933-5405 to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific situation. 

 

 

Timothy J. Cuddigan
Omaha Social Security and Veterans Disability Lawyer With Over 40 Years Experience