Multiple Sclerosis: Protect Your Health with Routine Checkups
Even though multiple sclerosis (MS) is definitely enough for any one person to have to handle, it doesn’t protect you from other health problems. Although some people with MS report that they get fewer colds than they used to (maybe that overactive immune system is good for something after all!), you can expect to deal with all the usual things — colds, flu, and stomach bugs — along the way.
And most people with MS die from all the same stuff as everyone else — cancer, heart disease, and stroke. So, remember, you’re not off the hook when it comes to taking care of your health.
In addition to whatever care you’re getting for your MS, be sure to include a primary care physician or nurse on your team. It’s their job to give you a general tune-up on a periodic basis and refer you for the health screens that are recommended for your age group. Few neurologists provide this kind of care on a routine basis because they’re focusing their attention on your MS needs.
For ideas about what type of preventive care you personally need, check out the National MS Society’s brochures, Preventive Care Recommendations for Adults with MS: The Basic Facts and Dental Health: The Basic Facts. You can also request these brochures by calling (800) FIGHT-MS (800-344-4867).
If you want friendly e-mail reminders about your health screening tests, check out the website MyHealthReminer. And visit this website to stay current with the most up-to-date information about the safety of various types of vaccinations for people with MS.
Gynecological exams, mammograms, chest X-rays, colonoscopies, routine dental care, and other procedures may pose an accessibility challenge if you have mobility issues or use a mobility aid, such as a motorized scooter or wheelchair. So, when you make your appointment, check to make sure that the facility and testing equipment are fully accessible and that someone will be available to provide assistance if you need it.
Nothing is more frustrating than arriving for a scheduled appointment only to discover that you can’t get through a doorway, onto an examining table, or close to an X-ray machine. If you have trouble locating accessible facilities, call the National MS Society at (800) FIGHT-MS for recommendations in your area.