Your future with MS – what can you expect and what can you do about it?
These questions are some of the most difficult for your doctor to answer. Because of the number of variables associated with multiple sclerosis, it is almost impossible to tell what your future will hold. This is especially true when confronted with the very earliest symptoms of MS you have experienced.
Even when your neurologist has decided for certain that you have MS, the course the disease may take for you won't be known until you've lived with it for a few years. And quite possibly not until after you've had a few relapses. You may have mild relapses or very severe exacerbations. You may have complete recovery after each one or you may experience gradual disability which get worse over time.
75% of MSers, will continue to walk throughout their lifetime. If you're in this group, you may have difficulty walking occasionally, but you can still walk. Sometimes you may need a cane or other mobility aide like a walker, but you can walk. This is a fairly large group in the world of MSers.
This group may also be able to continue to work, depending on the severity of their other symptoms. And that's another thing – there are so many different symptoms and the severity of the symptoms throws another possibility into how your MS will play out. You may be very similar in some ways to another MSer, and very different in others.
Now as far as how long you will live with multiple sclerosis, there are two theories. The first and the one I've heard most is that there is no significant difference between MSers and the general population in terms of life expectancy. You are likely to live just as long with MS as you would have without it.
The other theory I've read about is that MSers live 5-10 years less than the general population. Those who believe this are probably taking into consideration the ways that MSers can die. One, some MSers may decide to end their lives by suicide. In spite of the stories we've heard in the news, the majority of people with multiple sclerosis do not take their own lives.
Another reason for premature death in someone with MS, would be as a result of complications of their symptoms. Multiple sclerosis patients are more susceptible to infections for several reasons. If you self-cath, you have to be extremely careful when it comes to cleanliness. Many of the treatments taken by MSers have increased infections as a side-effect. If you take them, don't hesitate to report these symptoms to your doctor immediately.
What are some other reasons for the premature death of someone with MS? To go to Part 2 of a Future With MS, Click here to find out?