A survey conducted among people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis shows that 70 percent had at least one concern that the illness would affect their personal relationship and 60 percent worried that the chronic progressive disease in the prime of their career makes them less confident in their job. The survey was collected by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals in Wayne, N.J. among 100 Americans with MS.
An awareness program by Bayer called “Mastering MS” has been launched to offer advice to people who live with the challenges of the neurological disease. The experts say the study can help show how the illness creates additional anxiety surrounding the illness and can even add to the exasperation of symptoms, including depression and fatigue.
“An MS diagnosis can create anxiety,” said Michele Wahlder, a psychotherapist and career coach from Dallas, Texas. “Support, whether from family, an MS nurse, career counselor or others, may be an integral ingredient to help people with MS deal with these feelings and potentially make adjustments to better manage their daily lives.”
One person as part of the study, known as Bradley, is 48 and works in corporate franchise sales, and says: “My job requires spending up to an hour on the phone at a time. When I was diagnosed with MS four years ago, I was worried that I would have problems holding the phone or growing tired. I reached out to an MS nurse, and she gave me advice on how to manage my symptoms. She also taught me to make modifications to my work day, like taking periodic breaks when I feel fatigued. Her advice helped me feel more confident in my ability to succeed at work.”
The survey, which looked at the perspectives of people with MS, found that many had similar concerns when they were first diagnosed:
* In the U.S., seven in 10 people with MS reported being worried that they would no longer be able to perform their job as they did before being diagnosed
* More than 85 percent of respondents have made changes to their social life as a result of their MS
* The most frequently reported feelings among those who were married or dating (62 percent) were that their partners would become caregivers or have to handle their responsibilities
* However, more than half of respondents said their partners and friends were among their biggest sources of emotional support.
A young mother finds her support through her partner, and communicates with him about her MS. “The best way for me to help him understand how I’m feeling is to talk to him about it. He listens to me and my moods. I tell him when I’m tired and need to lie down, and then he will make dinner for our family or do the laundry. He is always there when I need him; he’s my biggest supporter.”
The survey was sponsored by Bayer and conducted via telephone by WorldOne Research, a global market research company, among 100 people diagnosed with MS in the United States. All interviews were conducted via telephone. Of the survey respondents:
* Seventy-eight were female, 22 were male
* All were over the age of 18
* Eighty-six percent had been diagnosed more than three years ago
* Three-quarters were on long-term treatment at the time of the survey
MS is a disease that affects the body’s central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, optic nerves). It is the most common central nervous system disease among young adults, with approximately 400,000 people currently diagnosed in the United States. The symptoms of MS vary from person to person and can be unpredictable. Common symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, weakness of one or more limb, numbness and tingling, stiffness, dizziness, slurred speech, and loss of bladder control.
In most cases, MS progresses over time, but early diagnosis and treatment may help slow disease progression and manage symptoms.
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the U.S.-based pharmaceuticals operation of Bayer HealthCare, an affiliate of Bayer AG. One of the world’s leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry, Bayer HealthCare combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care, and Pharmaceuticals divisions.