Rarely does MS cause death. Like any chronic illness it sometimes does contribute to someone's death. This can happen in many ways. Usually it has to do with some form a paralysis. With Disease Modifying drugs and better medical care it rarely happens. It is not something most of us need to worry about. It is like my cancer. I almost died from cancer last month because I lost too much weight and I had a lowered immune system ,my red blood cells were in the toilet, and my heart and kidneys were working too hard. I was hospitalized, given fluids, blood, etc. It was diagnosed as failure to thrive. With in a month at a different hospital it was reversed. I basically had a lazy Doctor and nurses.
MS rarely kills anyone but it usually has do to with breathing or extreme paralysis and the person wasting away unable to care for themselves. These are extreme cases.
Welcome to the forum. Alex provides some great examples here, so I'd like to add to the good response here because you ask "..how can we avoid these complications?"
Let me say 1st - GREAT Question Nancy!
Managing MS by yourself can be difficult, especially if you are very symptomatic, and have mobility issues. This is where a great relationship with your primary doctor and neurologist, and your spouse, partner, children, or even the community is key.
The doc is responsible to get you the care you need by way of meds to maintain quality of life (symptomatic meds), and disease modifiers to try to slow progression, and other therapies to keep you as healthy as possible.
However, as you and most of us know, these meds come with their own set of side affects. MSers experience weakness and fatigue, so combine that say with a sedating med for symptoms, then we are walking a tight rope between symptoms and side affects. It's such a balancing act. Once where we have know our bodies like the back of our hands. And, bring things to the attention of those who can help when there are changes.
So, avoiding secondary complications from MS tips...
-Stay as flexible and mobile as you can - therapists can teach range of motion exercises
-Use all available to maintain congnition via reading, or those cool computer games online
-Know your limits
-Ask for help when needed
-Use physical therapy for strengthening
-Use canes, walkers or other aids to avoid falls and broken bones!
If others see this, I'm sure they will chime in and add their thoughts. These things above are not limited to those of us with chronic disease. It's things we should do to maintain a body in motion as a general rule, but it is harder for those of us who suffer with CNS damage, and other aflictions :)
Welcome! . Shell and Alex have just about covered all the basics.
Know your body and trust yourself to know when something is not right regardless of what your doc says. Push until you get the help you need!
Get a good doctor on your side!! That's one of the most important things. Keep moving. Use physical therapy to help with any balance issues and to keep you mobile and active.
Come here to vent and relieve stress and you're good to go!!!
If you need clarifications on any we post please do not hesitate to ask. Many of us use abbreviations and newcomers aren't accustomed to them yet.
Don't forget to visit our Health Pages, located to the right of this column. Most were written by Quix, a retired pediatrician with MS. They are scientifically based and backed up. Many are very humorous, especially the the ones on urinary incontinence, a delicate subject handled beautifully by Quix.
It is often said that MS is not a fatal disease - what does it mean when "complications from MS" is listed as a cause of death?
It is very rare to die from multiple sclerosis. It would take a scar right in the vital area(s) of the brainstem (the back part of the brain) to actually kill. However sometimes people die from complications of other diseases that likely would not have happened had there not been MS present.
Examples of this include bladder-urinary tract infection, pneumonia, or skin breakdown with infection. These are usually infections. Occasionally blood clots in the leg may form because the legs do not move well and spread to the lungs. Mostly people with MS die of the same things that others without MS die of including heart, cancer, and stroke. If one dies at age 77 after having MS for 40 years and dies of heart disease which has been present for months, people will sometimes give MS the top billing for death even though it had little to do with it.
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