Championing independence in MS

World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day takes place every year in May, providing an important opportunity to bring together the global MS community.

The theme for this year’s World MS Day was ‘Independence.’ Here, MS patient advocate Birgit Bauer, shares her inspiring story on being stronger than MS and maintaining independence while living with the disease.

On World MS Day, my message for people with MS is trust yourself, trust in your abilities… be the boss in your life and don’t let MS be the boss in your life.

MS, affecting 2.3 million people globally, is a chronic disease of the central nervous system and the leading cause of non-traumatic disability among young adults in many developed countries.1 Symptoms of MS can include fatigue, difficulty walking, numbness or tingling, weakness, vision problems, dizziness and vertigo, bladder and bowel problems and cognitive and emotional changes.2

Receiving a diagnosis of MS can be very distressing for those affected and their families, but there are many ways to maintain independence and carry on living as normal a life as possible. A holistic management approach is important to allow people to live as independently as possible, and people with MS should take an active role in engaging with their healthcare team.3,4

MS is unpredictable, but people living with MS, together with their families, should be empowered to make decisions about the treatment and care they receive.5 Take a look at our infographic to learn more about living independently with MS.

References
1. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Atlas of MS 2013: mapping multiple sclerosis around the world. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, 2013. http://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Atlas-of-MS.pdf. (Accessed May 2016)
2. National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Symptoms. Available at: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms/. (Accessed May 2016)
3. Ready to Work? Meeting the Employment and Career Aspirations of People with Multiple Sclerosis .http://www.theworkfoundation.com/downloadpublication/report/289_289_ms3.pdf. (Accessed May 2016)
4. Giovannoni G et al. Brain Health: Time Matters In Multiple Sclerosis. http://www.msbrainhealth.org/perch/resources/time-matters-in-ms-report-oct15.pdf (Accessed May 2016)
5. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. Principles to Promote the Quality of Life of People with Multiple Sclerosis. http://www.msif.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Principles-to-Promote-the-Quality-of-Life-of-People-with-MS1.pdf (Accessed May 2016)

Tags: Society