Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy on December 19, 2018
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Narrator: Multiple Sclerosis can be a challenging disease with a unique set of symptoms and circumstances for each individual.
Although each patient has their own story, a general understanding of what your future has in store can be a helpful start.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: The future for any given patient is unpredictable. For that reason, I like to tell my patients to try to stack the deck as much as possible in their favor.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: One of the problems with MS, especially early MS, is that patients can have a lot of symptoms but they don’t look sick.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: So, my MS patients all the time will tell me, “I’m really not getting very much help at work or at home or really any empathy or sympathy because they tell me, I look so well.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: How do I deal with that with my family and with my coworkers?” I think the answer to that it really is -- it’s education and communication.
Tiffany Curwen: I think with family and friends, the more they know, the better they’ll be.
They’ll handle it their own way. They’ll take it however they need to, but they’ll be better off if they know from the beginning what’s going on with you.
Richard Cordell: When your family wants to support you and your friends, let them, let them help you. It's the hardest thing in the world to do.
I was quite independent and I did not want anybody to help me do anything but I finally had to throw that towel in, and my life became better after I did.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: I recommend the patient stay healthy and wellness has become a very important part of managing MS patients long-term.
So we recommend healthy diets, we recommend weight management. Obesity is a big problem in multiple sclerosis. We recommend exercise.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: It’s clear in every study that’s been done on multiple sclerosis that exercise helps to improve prognosis, recovery, and the patient’s ability to tolerate relapses when they occur.
Tiffany Curwen: I do everything in moderation because I know too many fats or too many sugars, or too much of this or too much of that can adversely affect my treatments.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: I recommend that patients have hobbies and that they have something that keeps them emotionally healthy.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: It’s very easy with a chronic illness to become secluded and to become isolated from friends and from work and not to have the kind of full life that really keeps you healthy and well.
Richard Cordell: I think for me, it turned around a lot when I reengaged and sought out some other people to have friendships with that maybe were available during the day or maybe retired or people I haven't talked to in a long time
Richard Cordell: or finding a volunteer situation that would put you in touch with a lot of people.
Dr. Douglas Stuart: Well when I am speaking with patients here that are newly diagnosed with MS, one of the things I like them to leave with is a feeling that this is not the end of the world, that this is a common diagnosis,
Dr. Douglas Stuart: one of the most common diagnosis we see and that most of the patients we're treating are leading very happy, healthy and fulfilling lives.