Top Seven MS Myths

ms myths

MS Myths have the potential to completely derail someone by setting false expectations.  In my experience, the following are the most common MS myths that are being shared throughout our communities today.  If we are going to take charge of our health and our lives, it is important that we do not buy into these MS myths.  We must protect our thoughts and create our beliefs based on truth, because the first step in recovering and living a healthy, productive life is believing in what is possible and not believing in ideas that will limit you.  MS Myths are simply someone else’s ideas, and certainly not factual.

I have personally been able to defy these common MS myths  and so can you.

 

MS Myths #1 – YOU DON’T LOOK SICK:

If you look healthy on the outside, you walk normal, your skin looks  normal, your face appears normal – some may think that you’re not sick and that you just complain all the time. Some may even think that you are faking symptoms for sympathy, or that you are lazy and seeking support! Not true. MS is notorious for wreaking havoc on the body all internally, starting from the top of your head to the tips of your toes – again, all unnoticeable on the outside, all very apparent to the sufferer with MS…MS can be called the most silent or invisible disability because of this. With this common misconception, people are hurt over and over. The best we can do is share information so we can change this once and for all.

MS Myths #2 – YOU CAN DIE FROM MS:

People don’t die from MS. Most people with MS will live just as long as anybody else. Sometimes people who are very badly affected get more infections, or pick up other illnesses more easily than healthy people because of their compromised immune systems, and they can die from these complications. Or some people can die from side effects of the DMD’s, but again, MS itself does not kill. I’ve known people who got MRSA and died while being hospitalized for MS treatment, does that mean they died from MS or did they die of MRSA? So the best advice I can give you is to understand you can live just as long as anyone else and start living your life!

MS Myths #3 – YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE CHILDREN:

A woman with MS is less likely to have a relapse during pregnancy, (I myself had some of my healthiest times while I was pregnant.) Although the risk of ms mythsrelapse does increase in the six months after the birth – usually due to the trauma of birth on your body. (I did have a relapse after my first child – loss of sensation and muscle control of my arms, and specifically my hands), but Pregnancy has no long-term effect on MS and you are no more likely to experience miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects or infant death than anyone else. I now have two healthy and very active children!

MS Myths #4 – YOU CANNOT WORK WITH MS:

MS is different for each person. Every person experiences different symptoms at different times and the impact of the symptoms on your working life will very much depend on the type of work, your condition and your own personal experience of MS. Some people might tell you to stop working right away upon your diagnosis, but I believe as long as you can work, if it’s not too stressful, you should continue. (You know the whole idea of a body in motion stays in motion!) Many people with MS never experience symptoms even severe enough to stop working.

MS Myths #5 – MS ISN’T A PHYSICALLY PAINFUL CONDITION:

MS patients do experience significant pain which may be acute or chronic at some point in the course of their disease. With the symptoms changing and varying so much from person to person, month to month, day to day, it’s impossible to diagnosis or determine the levels of pain at any given time.

MS Myths #6 – I CAN’T EXERCISE WITH MS:

ms mythsExercise is helpful in managing many MS symptoms in addition to being essential to general health and well-being.  Patients who participate in an aerobic exercise program have better cardiovascular fitness, improved strength, better bladder and bowel function, less fatigue and depression, a more positive attitude, and increased participation in social activities. Many studies have confirmed the benefits of exercise. I myself have done many forms of exercise – lifting weights, Pilates, yoga, aerobic activity.

Inactivity in people with or without MS can result in numerous risk factors; it can lead to weakness of muscles, cardiovascular disease, decreased bone density with an increased risk of fractures, and shallow, inefficient breathing. You have to think about it again, as a body in motion stays in motion. When you slow down or are inactive it will greatly affect your health….

An exercise program needs to be appropriate to the capabilities and limitations of each person. You know your body and you should always pay attention to how you are feeling and what you are experiencing. Your activities may need to be adjusted as changes occur in your MS symptoms. Any person with MS who is initiating a new exercise program should also consult with his or her physician before starting.

And…last but not least….

MS Myths #7 – “WE” WILL HAVE A CURE IN 5 YEARS:

Although “WE” may be very hopeful that this will happen in our or my lifetime, that the medical community with come up with our cure.  I would say honestly, DON’T HOLD YOUR BREATH. (I was told in 1987 by my pediatric neurologist, “Don’t worry, Kellie, there will be a cure for MS in 5 years) Yes, back in 1987 – and I am asking everyone to think about this realistically, are we any closer to a cure now in 2014 as we were back then? Although this may be disheartening or not well received, my answer is a resounding “NO”!!! You can do your own research and I would love your feedback on this…

MS Myths #7 is exactly the reason we  need to take personal responsilibity for our own health. I know when I decided to take this disease head on it changed my life and the course of my disease. I am happy, healthy and strong. Please know there is HOPE for you!

Please share your comments and your experiences if you have been affected by any of the above Ms myths.  If you have any suggestions or additions, I welcome your input.

To Our Health!

Kellie Alderton

ms myths