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Category: Multiple Sclerosis

DENT Neurologic Institute is officially recognized as a Partner in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Care

Buffalo—DENT Neurologic Institute, a leading provider of care for people living with MS in Buffalo has been officially recognized as a Partner in MS Care, Center for Comprehensive MS Care through the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program. This formal recognition honors DENT Neurologic Institute’s commitment to providing exceptional, coordinated MS care; and a continuing partnership with the Society to address the challenges of people affected by MS.

Buffalo, NY is considered a world hot spot for the prevalence of patients diagnosed with MS.

The Society’s Partners in MS Care program recognizes committed providers, like DENT, whose practices support the Society’s initiative of affordable access to high quality MS healthcare for everyone living with MS – regardless of geography, disease progression, and other disparities.

DENT Neurologic Institute is the only recipient of this specific award in Upstate New York. DENT has been designated as the only Comprehensive Care Center in our region.

Partners in MS Care – Centers for Comprehensive Care are led by clinicians with demonstrated knowledge and experience in treating MS; offer and coordinate a full array of medical, nursing, mental health, rehabilitation and social services and have a strong collaborative relationship with the National MS Society. We have shown our level of dedication to the patients in our community by being one of the first centers in the country to offer new, novel therapies to the patients in our community. DENT is often a chosen site to participate in MS research opportunities. Our staff are also recognized nationally for the expertise on MS and the understanding of what it takes to run such an integrated practice.

“We are so proud to partner with DENT Neurologic Institute to enhance coordinated, comprehensive care for the people who live with MS in Buffalo,” said Stephani Kunes, of the National MS Society, Upstate New York. “In earning this recognition, DENT has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in MS care, making a tremendous impact on people affected by MS in our community,” Stephanie Kunes continued.

 

For more information, please visit www.nationalMSsociety.org/partnersinMScare or call 1-800-344-4867.

 

 

What is Multiple Sclerosis? – Facebook Live Recap

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects 1 million people in the United States, affecting two to three times more women than men. Over the past 10 years there have been significant developments in the treatment of MS. Director of the DENT Multiple Sclerosis Center, Dr. Bennett Myers, discussed what multiple sclerosis is, and how recent advancements in medication are changing the prognosis for those diagnosed with MS.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system, brain and spinal cord. MS commonly starts in young adulthood, with onset in a person’s 20s and 30s, however MS can occur at any age.

“Although the cause of MS is unclear, it seems to be auto-immune, meaning that the body’s immune system is attacking something it shouldn’t be. In this case, the covering of nerves cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the neurologic symptoms of MS,” said Dr. Myers.

Two Forms of MS

At the time of diagnosis there are two forms of MS. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) and Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). 85 percent of people with MS will be diagnosed with RRMS, however sometimes RRMS will convert to secondary progressive MS over time.

“In RRMS, people will develop a neurologic symptom that comes on over the course of a few hours to days, then will generally improve over the course of days to months,” said Dr. Myers.

Symptoms of RRMS can include numbness or tingling, weakness in one arm or one leg, or one entire side of the body. Symptoms can also be visual, a person may see double, or lose vision in one eye. Symptoms can also be more subtle, a person may feel very tired, or like their balance is off, it may be harder to think or to find the right words.

“It is also important to note that unfortunately, a person does not always recover fully after each ‘flare’ of MS,” added Dr. Myers. “When there is inflammation affecting the brain or the spinal cord it does damage. Overtime, this can cause disability, weakness issues, and can affect thinking and memory.”

Primary Progressive MS, the second form of MS, is categorized as a slow gradual accumulation of neurologic disability. This form mostly shows up later in a person’s life, most commonly in the 40s or 50s.

“Many people with PPMS will associate their symptoms with aging. When people are finally diagnosed with PPMS, it is often because something drastic as changed, they may be too weak to climb a flight of stairs, or they begin walking with a limp,” added Dr. Myers

MS Treatment: Treating Symptoms and MS

“When it comes to treating MS, we often talk about treating symptoms,” said Dr. Myers. “If people have pain or fatigue issues, spasticity issues, or even mood issues – depression, anxiety—we certainly treat those symptoms. If you actually have an attack or flare we typically treat that with high doses steroids.”

Disease Modifying Therapies, are medicines that are aimed at treating the underlying disease. In this case these are the medicines that will directly treat the multiple sclerosis by preventing relapses, therefore preventing the disease from getting worse.

“When I was in medical school, back in the mid-1990s, neurologists would tell me don’t go in to multiple sclerosis, there’s nothing you can do for it. That is completely different from how it is now. Now we have so many treatments that have been shown effective in slowing down this disease,” said Dr. Myers. 

To learn more about the current medications that are used to treat multiple sclerosis, check out the entire presentation from Dr. Myers below: 

The content of this post is intended for general educational and informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical advice.  Readers should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

MS Fatigue and Tips for Management – Facebook Live Recap

Fatigue is a common symptom in multiple sclerosis patients, affecting around 80 percent of the patient population. There are three main types of MS Fatigue, ranging from basic tiredness and the feeling of needing sleep, to cognitive fatigue; which can affect thinking. Physical fatigue is common as well, which can manifest as a tiredness of the muscles.

“One way our team at DENT tries to combat fatigue is by recommending daily routine changes that may have a big impact,” said Katelyn McCormack, a Family Nurse Practitioner in the DENT Multiple Sclerosis Center. 

Lifestyle modifications can have a huge and positive impact on your multiple sclerosis fatigue. All the methods discussed can be used in helping to manage MS fatigue symptoms.

Physical or Occupational Therapy:

Different devices can be prescribed by your physician to help manage your physical fatigue by reducing the amount of energy it takes to complete certain tasks.

“Some patients may have weakness on one side, or trouble gripping, and we can prescribe different devices to help limit how much energy a task takes you,” said McCormack.

These methods can help to reduce the feeling of muscle tiredness that accompany physical fatigue.

Good Sleep Hygiene:

It’s very important to practice good sleep hygiene, which includes maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, for example going to bed and waking up at around the same time every day.

“Sleep improvement is a major way to combat fatigue,” said McCormack. “And it may not be that you’re not getting enough sleep, but that you’re not sleeping well. We use sleep studies to find the problem, or trying meditation to aid with sleep improvement. There are also vitamins available that can promote quality sleep.”

Sleep improvement can be achieved by minimizing poor sleep habits like staying up late and not keeping a consistent routine. It is also important to minimize artificial blue light exposure from electronic devices. Sleep is vastly underrated, and if quality of sleep isn’t there it can have serious negative ramifications and lead to worsening fatigue.

Exercise:

Exercise not only promotes healthy sleep hygiene, it also can also have a huge impact on managing your fatigue symptoms. There are many types of exercise you can try to find what works best for you. Alternative types of exercise include swimming, yoga, and water aerobics, all of which are great ways to get active.

“Stretching is a large component of managing fatigue. We advocate stretching in the morning and at night. Stretching can play a large role in relaxing your muscles and preparing your muscles for sleep and it plays a large role in minimizing spasms.” said Dr. Mazhari.

Another notable factor in managing fatigue is being aware of the role heat can play. Exposure to heat from either exercise of environmental factors can exacerbate fatigue symptoms. In order to reduce your exposure to heat your physician can prescribe cooling products, like cooling vests or scarves to aid in the cool down process. In addition, it is important to consider timing. For example it may be beneficial to take walks in the morning during the summer, rather than in the middle of the day when it is warmest out.

Vitamins:

“Data shows optimizing vitamins are so important.” said Dr. Mazhari. Vitamin D is often lacking in this area, so adding that to your vitamin regimen can have a large impact. Other vitamins like B12 and Biotin have been shown to make improvements as well.

Mood:

Depression can be a big part of MS. Some patients will notice that when their mood changes it can impact stamina, and what you feel like doing. Depression can be a hard topic to bring up, due in part to the stigma surrounding it, but it could be why you’re having fatigue. So don’t be afraid to mention those symptoms to your physicians.

Caffeine:

Over caffeinating can also be a contributing factor to an increase in fatigue. A cup of coffee in the morning is okay, but caffeine all day long can create issues. Our doctors recommend two cups of water of every cup of coffee.

Side Effects of Medicine:

Sometimes certain side effects of medicine can play a role in increasing your fatigue. However fixing this can be as simple as changing the time you take your medicine. It can also help to evaluate the current medicines you are taking to ensure that your medication is benefiting you and working cohesively to make you feel better.

The content of this post is intended for general educational and informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical advice. Readers should always consult with a licensed healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.

 

Check out the full Facebook Live Here: