Does multiple sclerosis impact life expectancy

Does multiple sclerosis impact life expectancy?

Being diagnosed with anything, especially multiple sclerosis (MS), is a confusing and scary experience with hundreds of questions entering your head all at once. This is of course overwhelming, and probably one of the most painful things that might pop into a person’s head is ‘am I going to die sooner?’

In this blog, we’ll delve into the kind of things someone who is newly diagnosed with MS should know and answer the question of whether it can impact life expectancy.

What are the facts?

When it comes to MS and life expectancy, we know some solid stats.

We know that people who are diagnosed with MS tend to have a slightly shorter life expectancy than others in the general population. Research suggests that

Being diagnosed does not mean your health will begin to degrade very quickly either. Many MSers live with the condition for decades so the majority of patients, with the help of medical advancements, will often live for longer in comparison to years gone by.

The most common kind of MS is relapse remitting (RRMS), which means that the majority of patients will have periods of worsened symptoms. However, this will ultimately take a toll on your body overtime.

How does MS actually impact your life span?

Although MS cannot yet be cured, it is not a life-threatening or terminal illness but is known as a chronic long-term health condition. This means that once you have it, you have it for life.

Many people with RRMS live just as long as someone without the condition, however some complications can arise which can have an impact on life expectancy, particularly at a more advanced stage. For example, problems with swallowing can lead to aspiration, where food or drink goes into the lungs. This can lead to life threatening infections such as pneumonia.

With the continuous progress in medical science and the increasing availability of treatments for managing MS and its symptoms, the likelihood of individuals with MS developing severe comorbidities should decrease.

What’s out there now?

There are ways in which MSers are becoming more comfortable as well as shortening the 5-10 year average, however it’s taken a lot of research and there is still more to be done to reduce this further.

LDNs (Low Dose Naltrexone)

This kind of medication is used for many other autoimmune conditions, in addition to conditions like Chron’s disease among others.

The drug acts like a painkiller but doesn’t ‘kill’ the pain directly. Instead of numbing it, LDN encourages the body to produce endorphins which are the body’s pain killer. Overtime, this medication helps in not only reducing the pain you feel, but also makes you feel better in general.

DMTs (Disease Modifying Therapies)

This medication doesn’t aim to reduce pain felt thanks to the condition, but instead improve the severity of relapses and reduce their frequency.

There are a variety of different types available to MSers, and some have been found to delay long-term progression of RRMS and reduce the number of new lesions. It can be a bit of a journey to find the right one for you, so be prepared that you might not find ‘the one’ straight away.

These advancements in medicine have improved the rate at which people with multiple sclerosis experience the disease, and therefore the rate of which it develops. Being able to slow down symptom onset and development means that it’s harder for MS to inadvertently cause things like infections.

How does MS impact your quality of life?

In addition to life expectancy, the relapses or continuous worsening of symptoms also impact your quality of life.

But like with life expectancy, there are ways you can improve it.

How you feel in yourself

Studies have shown that the way you perceive yourself can make a big difference to your quality of life. Elements such as depression and unemployment can contribute to feeling worse about having MS.

Enabling yourself to have a positive outlook in life, as well as higher self-esteem and self-efficacy,

It just goes to show how the power of the mind can have a huge influence on the way you feel!

Diet

Your body is a temple, and what you put into it can influence how you feel more so when you have MS.

There are plenty of MS designed diets that are worth looking into, but the general consensus is to avoid processed foods and focus on eating more natural products like fruit, veg, nuts. In general a

Exercise

Make sure to stretch out your body and keep it active, else you might find yourself feeling stiffer and more ridged than ever.

Exercising doesn’t have to involve running 10k a day – something as simple as a walk around your local park or participating in our chair yoga sessions every Wednesday

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of thinking in the moment and is a good way of grounding yourself to the here and now and

We do also offer mindfulness courses, both 4-week and 8-week cohorts if you’re interested in learning more from professionals in the field. If you’re interested in any of the activities we host, then feel free to click the buttons below – they’ll lead you straight to where you can find out more!