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Take care of a family member with multiple sclerosis with this 5-step guide

Published on:2 June 2020, 18:10pm IST
Numbness that affects the arms, legs, or one side of your face is an early sign of multiple sclerosis. So if you see it coming on in a family member, don’t ignore it!
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Encorage your parents to start with light exercise to keep their mind stimulated. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Neurological disorders are lesser-known devils of the world. At times, the patient and the family end up discovering its affliction only when things might have gone out of hand. 

Do you know that according to a report by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), younger women are more affected by multiple sclerosis – a neurological disorder? 

That’s why we would like to draw your attention to it and will tell you how you can take care of someone who is dealing with it.

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Taking care of your mental well-being is really very important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

But before that, let’s understand what multiple sclerosis (MS) is
MS is a neurological disorder that affects your central nervous system. In this disorder, the immune system is attacked and the protective layer around your nerve fibre is damaged. Due to this, your brain is unable to send proper signals to your body. 

This disorder affects the brain function, vision, spinal cord, senses, muscles, speech, digestive system, and urinary system. 

One of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis is experiencing a problem in walking due to weakness in legs and fatigue.

This disorder takes a toll on the patient, both mentally and physically. Therefore, those suffering from it require constant supervision.

Here’s your five-step expert-backed guide to take care of people dealing with Multiple Sclerosis
According to Dr. Prashant Makhija, consultant neurologist at Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai, a caregiver must remember these things while dealing with multiple sclerosis patients:

1. Look for the cause of fatigue
“The caregiver should understand the history of the patient to deal with him/her better. Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of MS and therefore, it is important to know what is causing it so as to help the patient deal with it better”, says Dr. Makhija.

feeling tired all the time
Constant fatigue might be an early sign of multiple sclerosis. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

He cautioned that taking a hot bath can also trigger fatigue in such patients and the caregiver must keep this in mind.

2. Help them move
According to our expert, people with MS develop weak muscles, especially in the legs. So, it is important to make them move as much as they can so that muscles can develop some strength. The caregiver must be cautious about how to go about it so that it doesn’t have any consequences.

3. Take care of their hygiene
“Pressure sores in patients who are bedridden are a major problem. As they are lying on the bed most of the time, the pressure on their skin leads to sores. That’s why we always educate the caregivers to take care of their hygiene. They should ask the patient to change their posture from time to time. And we always advise them to either use an air or water mattress to reduce the pressure”, says Dr. Makhija.

4. Keep a log of their medicine
Dr. Makhija says that it is extremely important that the caregiver give the medicine to the patient on time. He says, “These medicines are given to reduce the frequencies of episodes like seizures, strokes, etc. and if skipped then with each episode the person can develop some disabilities. Therefore, you can’t take your chances on that.”

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Timely medicine is the key to treat multiple sclerosis patients. Image courtesy: Shutterstock.

5. Periodical visit to the doctor
“With every passing stage, the doctor will guide you on how to proceed with it. Therefore, taking the patient to a doctor regularly is a must. This will also help in better and faster recovery of the patient”, says Dr. Makhija.

He says, “There are many educational groups as well as support societies that are there which run programs for both caregivers and patients. They conduct various workshops that both can attend and enlighten themselves about the disorder while learning how to better manage it.”

The takeaway?
Dr. Makhija also recommends that people should consume a lot of vitamin D because professionals have observed that a deficiency of it can make people prone to multiple sclerosis. Plus, an active lifestyle is also something that can help you stay away from this disorder. 

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Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.