Following diagnosis of MS, patients will generally be supported by their GP working closely with a specialist MS team consisting of a neurologist, an MS specialist nurse and other allied health practitioners as needed, such as a physiotherapist or occupational therapist.
Just as the symptoms and progression of MS are different for every person, so too are the types of treatment and the level of care that may be required.
While there is no known cure for MS, there are many options for treatment that may slow its progression and help to manage symptoms. At all stages of the disease, the treatments aim to:
- minimise relapses
- eliminate inflammation
- prevent the formation of new lesions
- minimise brain atrophy
- restore function
- minimise the impact of symptoms on day to day life
Specialist MS health teams help patients develop customised plans that provide ways of coping, adapting to and managing MS. Research shows that a collaborative decision-making process between patient and healthcare providers leads to the best health outcomes. Specialists will take the time to discuss the aims of treatment and the pros and cons of different treatments available.
Tailored to individual needs, treatments may include:
Medicines including immunotherapies – used to ease symptoms, slow progression and reduce the risk and severity of attacks or relapses.
Regular exercise, physiotherapy and occupational therapy – to strengthen muscles, improve heart health and improve mood.
Dietary advice – diets low in fat and high in fibre may be helpful.
Brain health – weight management, keeping mind and body active, avoiding smoking and alcohol, managing stress.
It is generally difficult to predict the course of MS as the condition varies greatly in each individual, but most people living with MS can expect 95% of the normal life expectancy.