Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis can be a shocking and horrifying moment for a person. For others, who have been confounded by their health and who have been wondering what is afflicting them, the diagnosis, when it comes, can be a relief. For most people though the first question is, ‘How long do I have to live?’ On discovering that MS is not fatal in and of itself the next thing that people typically do is start to research the condition. It is not like being diagnosed with Chicken Pox or a urinary tract infection – things with which most people are familiar, if not comfortable. MS is a mystery to most people, and it goes without saying that having been diagnosed with the condition there is a lot that will need to be unpacked. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about MS.
Is it the same for everyone?
One of the first things that most people diagnosed with MS want to know is if it is the same experience for everybody. Or in short, are there different types of MS? The answer is that there are indeed different types of MS. Although it can be tricky knowing what type a person has at first due to the fact the types are primarily based on the frequency of relapses and the amount of change that happens over time. Different examples of types of MS include Progressive Relapsing MS, Primary-Progressive MS, Secondary Progressive MS, and Relapsing-Remitting MS. Once you have been diagnosed with the condition take some time to do your research and then consult further with a physician who will be able to give you further details on the prognosis.
How long have I got?
The good news here is that you have plenty of time on your side. MS is not considered fatal in its own right. Statistics suggest that people with MS tend to live, on average, around five years less than people without the condition. But this is a gap that is constantly narrowing. And, as was the case with the most famous autoimmune disease of them all, AIDS, it is not actually the disease that kills you but an associated condition or symptom of the disease.
What did I do to get it?
The simple answer here is nothing. You don’t catch MS from other people, it is just something that affects some people, and which doesn’t affect others. In short, you are either unlucky or you are not. Importantly though you won’t pass it on to others. MS is a condition that you will need to accept and learn to live with. Don’t blame yourself for having it, rather look to use it to live a healthier lifestyle and to be the best version of you that you can be.
What can I do to make it go away?
There is no real cure for MS, it is a condition that you need to adapt to living with. No medication is going to make it go away although as with most conditions its effects can be mitigated through living a clean and healthy lifestyle. So, adapt and learn to live with it.