Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system (including the spine, brain, and optic nerve). It can cause extremely debilitating and often painful symptoms that get progressively worse as you age. Since MS is in many ways still a mystery, there are tons of myths out there that provide completely incorrect information.
At Indus Healthcare, with offices in Pomona, West Covina, and Montclair, California, Dr. Amit Reenu Paliwal provides chronic care management for people with illnesses like multiple sclerosis. Here’s what he wants you to know about MS.
Myth 1: MS has no treatment
Fact: MS is incurable, but it isn’t untreatable. There are many MS treatments emerging that can reduce symptoms and allow people to live with the condition for decades, handling their flares and enjoying lengthy periods of complete or almost complete remission.
Myth 2: People with MS have an extremely short lifespan
Fact: People with MS typically do have shorter lifespans than people without, but the difference is much less than you’d think based on this myth. While the average lifespan for someone without MS is almost 83.5 years, people who have the disease can still expect to live on average until they’re nearly 76; only a 7.5-year difference at most.
Myth 3: MS is an “old person’s disease”
Fact: People over 50 who are diagnosed with MS are considered to be “late-onset.” Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Bonus facts: women are two to three times as likely to get MS as men, and parents who have lost a child have a 50% higher chance of developing MS.
Myth 4: People who have MS should never have children
Fact: While there is a familial link with many MS cases, the chance of passing MS down to your child is slim. The increased risk for MS for a child who has a parent with the disease is so minimal that doctors don’t discourage people with MS from having kids. You just need to talk to your doctor about how to manage your flares during and after pregnancy, and be prepared in case you’re the one in five women with MS who delivers a little prematurely.
Myth 5: If you have MS, you’ll end up in a wheelchair
Fact: Since MS worsens with age, many people think a diagnosis means they’ll soon be wheelchair-bound or even bedridden. Even before the latest drugs for controlling MS symptoms hit the market, only 25% of MS patients ended up fully or partially immobilized by their disease. Today, that percentage is even lower.
Dr. Paliwal can work with you to prepare a chronic care management plan to help you navigate your MS. Don’t believe the myths: ask for facts from your doctor instead. Call the location nearest you to book an appointment, or send us a message online today.