Skip to Content

Multiple Sclerosis

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that leads to inflammation and damage to parts of your central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes your brain, spinal cord, and nerves. In MS, your immune system attacks and destroys the coating (myelin) that covers your nerves. This may cause problems with how you feel, move, and see. The cause of MS is not known, but it may be an autoimmune disease.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Blood tests:

You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.

Your caregiver may order a liver function test to know how well your liver is working. This is also used to check that your medicines are not hurting your liver.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out.

Medicines:

You may be given the following medicines:

  • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and prevent vomiting.
  • Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Steroids: This medicine may be given to decrease inflammation.

Tests:

You may need one or more of the following tests:

  • Evoked potential tests: This is also called EVT. This measures how quickly and correctly your brain responds to certain stimulation such as sight, sound, or touch.
  • Lumbar puncture: This is also called LP or spinal tap. During an LP, a needle is inserted into your lower spine. A small amount of fluid is then taken from your spinal canal. The fluid is sent to the lab for testing. Sometimes the fluid is taken to decrease pressure caused by certain medical problems. Pressure within the spinal canal can also be measured during an LP.
  • An MRI of the head takes pictures of your brain, blood vessels, and skull. You may be given contrast liquid to help the pictures show up better. Tell a healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell a healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.
  • Neurologic exam: This is also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. A neurologic exam can show caregivers how well your brain works after an injury or illness. Caregivers will check how your pupils (black dots in the center of each eye) react to light. They may check your memory and how easily you wake up. Your hand grasp and balance may also be tested.

Treatment options:

You may be offered one or more of the following treatments:

  • Chemotherapy: This medicine is used to treat cancer but may also be used to treat MS. It acts by shutting down the immune system for a short time to change the course of MS. You may need blood tests often. These blood tests show how your body is doing and how much chemotherapy is needed. Chemotherapy can have many side effects. Caregivers will watch you closely and will work with you to decrease side effects.
  • Immunotherapy: This medicine prevents the immune system from attacking your body. This medicine may increase the time between the episodes of symptoms or relapses.

RISKS:

Treatments for MS may cause unpleasant side effects. Ask your caregiver for information about the side effects of the medicines you take. If MS is not treated, you may have trouble moving or walking. This may lead to paralysis, pressure sores, or infections. You may also become blind. Your health, quality of life, and ability to function may decline.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Hide