Safety Tips for Patients With Multiple Sclerosis

November 6, 2017
By Robin Westen

No surprise the world can be a dangerous place to live, but the challenges can be even greater for those with multiple sclerosis. According to a 2014 study published in the journal PLoS One, folks with MS are twice as likely to fall accidentally as those who don't have the disease. And falls aren't the only risk. Multiple sclerosis presents all sorts of safety concerns – from driving a car and keeping track of medications to avoiding certain circumstances that could trigger a relapse of symptoms.

It's easy to understand why multiple sclerosis can make maneuvering in the world especially challenging. An autoimmune disease, MS damages the myelin sheath (covering) around the neurons in the brain and spinal cord responsible for sending signals to other parts of the body. That can lead to symptoms such as brain fog, depression, muscle spasticity, imbalance, extreme fatigue and vision issues – all of which can contribute to an increased risk of falling, as well as other kinds of accidents and misjudgments.

One way to reduce potential problems is by paying attention to the most common issues that can trip you up, such as:

Missing Medications

"Many multiple sclerosis patients suffer with cognitive issues (especially with memory), as well as extreme fatigue, and both these conditions can interfere with sticking to a medication schedule," says Victoria Leavitt, clinical neuropsychologist and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. A 2013 review of MS patients and their adherence to medications supports Leavitt's view. The study showed that less than 64 percent of patients take their MS drugs as prescribed. Fatigue and forgetfulness were among the top reasons for missing medication. [read more]

More related news: US News & World Report