Definition of "multiple sclerosis."
It is a progressive degenerative disease causing the destruction of the myelin sheath covering the nerve fiber which slows and weakens nerve impulses.
In later stages of the disease, the nerve fibers are also damaged, causing complete interruption of impulses.
The disease is characterized by remissions and exacerbations.
Fatigue, physical or emotional stress, infection, pregnancy, trauma, and extremes in temperature can trigger an exacerbation.
Factors that increase the risk of multiple sclerosis.
Age (usually affects adults between ages 20 and 40).
Sex (affects women more than men).
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Slow, monotonous, slurred speech.
Weakness of lower extremities.
Numbness or tingling in extremities.
Bladder or bowel dysfunction.
Impaired sense of touch and pain.
Spasticity of muscles.
How to manage multiple sclerosis and prevent exacerbation.
Avoid infections, or get prompt treatment.
Exercise regularly, to maintain muscle strength, relieve spasticity, and improve coordination.
Balance schedule with rest and activity to avoid fatigue.
Avoid temperature extremes, especially hot weather and hot baths.
Avoid physical and emotional stress. (Provide "Relaxation Techniques" handout.)
Take medications as prescribed and avoid over-the-counter medications.
Eat a well-balanced, high-fiber diet with fluid intake of at least 6-8 glasses per day. (Provide "Daily Food Guide" and "Fiber in Diet" handouts.)
Use safety measures to prevent injury or burns due to decreased sensation to pain (canes, rails for stairways, etc.)
Obtain assistive and self-help devices as needed to promote maximum independence (Provide "Self-Help" handout.)
Get help as needed (physical therapy, occupational therapy, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, visiting nurses, etc.).
Continue hobbies and social interests as tolerated.
Possible complications of multiple sclerosis.
Suicidal tendencies from depression.