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5 Myths and Facts About Multiple Sclerosis

Myth: You have to stop working if you have MS.

If you've just been diagnosed, don't jump to the conclusion that you should stop working. Well-meaning friends and family may suggest that you avoid the strains of work and stay home and rest. But there's no need to "make a career" of MS, Kalb says.

"People who quit work to avoid the stress quickly find that being unemployed brings its own set of stresses," she says. "And life without the stimulation of work and the relationships with fellow workers can feel very empty."

The fact is, most people retire with MS, not from it, McCoyd says.

Myth: MS is a deadly disease

The life expectancy of people with MS is very close to that of the general population, Kalb says. "Most people with MS die from cancer, heart disease, or stroke, just like everyone else."

In rare cases, patients with very severe disability may die prematurely of complications such as pneumonia. But you can prevent most complications by treating your MS symptoms and getting regular preventive health care.

"One other important risk factor for early death in MS is undiagnosed and untreated depression," she says, "which can lead to suicide."

If you have significant mood changes, talk to your doctor.

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Reviewed on September 23, 2013

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