Multiple Sclerosis Effects go Beyond Physical Problems

Researchers evaluate solutions to quality-of-life issues.

Researchers evaluate solutions to quality-of-life issues.

Physical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause emotional problems for patients, recent analysis indicates.

In a study conducted by Matthew Plow of Case Western Reserve University, the physical problems that many MS patients suffer through can lead to depression and lack of dissatisfaction for MS patients.

In the study, 335 MS patients were asked to rank 20 activities by importance. All subjects lived with MS for 15 plus years, and 60% had mobility aid.

On average, subjects ranked these activities the most important: getting out and about, spending time with family and friends, managing bills and expenses, participating in clubs and events.

Researchers then tried to determine what was inhibiting patients from achieving these activities. Three obstacles stood out most: lack of confidence, physical and mental impairments, and environmental factors.

Due to the deteriorating nature of MS, many patients feel unable to care for themselves and lose the confidence to do independent activities. Patients also struggle doing activities due to physical impairments of the disease. These obstacles can bar people from spending time with loved ones and interacting in the world. This can lead to depression, lack of exercise, and poor nutrition.

After this initial investigation, researchers are now developing an interventional study that outlines individual steps for patients to make positive changes in their lives. This would help build up confidence in patients so that they may reduce the risk of secondary problems caused by MS.

This study was published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, July 2015