MS and Future Planning: Assess Your Current Health - dummies

MS and Future Planning: Assess Your Current Health

By Rosalind Kalb, Barbara Giesser, Kathleen Costello

Your health is about more than just your multiple sclerosis (MS). So, as you develop your master plan for the future, remember to take into account your overall health and fitness as well as what’s going on with your MS. For example, ask yourself if you’re up-to-date with the health screening exams for people your age.

Also, keeping in mind that like everyone else, people with MS are likely to die of heart disease, cancer, and stroke, ask yourself about your risk factors: Do you have a family history of any of these health problems? Are you overweight? Do you smoke? Do you exercise regularly and eat a balanced diet?

When it comes to surveying your MS, ask yourself whether your disease course is active or stable (your doctor can help you answer this one if you aren’t sure), and whether you’re following the doctor’s recommendations for slowing disease progression and managing your symptoms.

Even though it isn’t the most fun thing to do, take the time to think about how your symptoms are affecting your everyday activities. For example, are things feeling pretty manageable at the moment, or not? If the answer is no, be sure to talk that over with your doctor to see what other strategies may be helpful.

Sometimes, though, MS symptoms can have a greater impact that calls for some heavy-duty help — perhaps some personal assistance with your care, modifications to your home or car, a motorized scooter or wheelchair, or whatever else it takes for you to stay active and comfortable.

All of these modifications have financial implications that are important to keep in mind as you try to create a financial safety net for yourself and your family. A motorized scooter, for example, can be quite expensive, so you may want to check how much of the cost would be covered by your insurance.

Also, your insurance plan may cover some of the MS medications and not others, or cover physical therapy services but not those provided by an occupational therapist. You may consider building a medical savings account for yourself to help pay for some of the extras that your insurance doesn’t cover.