Approximately 400,000 adults in the United States have multiple sclerosis (MS). Although the chronic disease can develop in men, women are more likely to develop this autoimmune disorder. Women are also more likely to endure a cycle of remission and flare-ups. Multiple sclerosis develops when lesions form on the myelin sheaths and exposed nerve fibers in the central nervous system. The abnormalities interrupt signals traveling to and from the brain, similar to frayed wires that short circuit.
Some seniors diagnosed with MS experience mild symptoms. However, in others the disorder can progress more quickly and causes a range of symptoms that affect mobility, vision, vocal ability, and sensation.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with MS or another medical condition, he or she may have difficulty completing daily tasks. Pawleys Island elder home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
Depending on the severity of the condition, seniors are likely to take a number of different medications and retain function through various types of therapy. Recently, the Roche and Biogen Idec pharmaceutical laboratory developed a new medication called ocrelizumab. The formula has undergone clinical testing and is awaiting approval by the FDA in the United States and by the European Medicines Agency in Europe.
This medication appears to slow the neuron damage caused by multiple sclerosis. During trials, ocrelizumab showed particular promise as a therapy for treating the primary progressive and the relapsing-remitting forms of MS. Once absorbed, the formula attacks and destroys the immune system’s B cells. The B cells are responsible for targeting and damaging myelin, which leaves scar tissue. Study participants who received the medication during testing experienced less brain cell loss and demonstrated greater mobility. However, physicians caution that the medication is not without possible serious side effects. By eliminating B cells, seniors are more susceptible to infection or malignancies.
If your loved one has MS and is having difficulty managing the symptoms of the condition or the side effects of a treatment, consider hiring an experienced professional caregiver. Families who need help taking care of their senior family members can turn to Home Care Assistance. A caregiver in Pawleys Island can encourage your loved one to adopt healthier habits and help him or her age in place safely and comfortably.
Other New Developments
The medications available for treating MS are typically administered via injection or IV. In 2017, the FDA approved a formula known as fingolimod. This medication is a good option for seniors who have MS, as it can be taken orally. The formula reduces the possibility of relapse by up to 54 percent. Nevertheless, fingolimod may cause a number of serious side effects, which include possible eye, heart, or lung damage.
Dalfampridine is another oral medication that is now available for treating MS. The tablet obstructs the potassium channels on nerve fibers where myelin damage has occurred. Seniors taking the formula may experience improvement in walking ability.
A group of scientists from John Hopkins Medical are in the process of finding a way to repair the myelin and nerve fiber damage caused by MS. Physicians have investigated the possibility of using adult stem cells obtained from bone marrow for the healing process. The international study spanned 16 years and involved 261 participants diagnosed as having different forms of the disease. Of those receiving the transplants, 46 percent experienced no disease progression or worsening of symptoms. However, individuals with the best outcomes were typically younger and had the relapsing-remitting or secondary progressive forms of the disorder.
Family members often have to take on caregiving duties when a senior loved one is diagnosed with MS or another medical condition that limits mobility. In Pawleys Island, SC, respite care is a great help to many families. Caring for a senior loved one can be overwhelming at times, which puts family caregivers at risk for burnout. However, an in-home caregiver can take over your loved one’s care, allowing you the time you need to focus on your own health, maintain a full-time job, or care for other members of your family. Reach out to Home Care Assistance today at (843) 353-3105 to find out about the many ways we can help you and your loved one.