Get the latest on medications and treatment options

Take charge of your MS and live a full, active, and satisfying life

Need to know more about MS? This friendly, authoritative guide gives you expert advice on making personal treatment choices, managing symptoms, staying healthy, and maximizing your health insurance options — as well as how to deal with relapses and complications so you can keep your life on track.

"When I found out I had MS, ...

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Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies

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Get the latest on medications and treatment options

Take charge of your MS and live a full, active, and satisfying life

Need to know more about MS? This friendly, authoritative guide gives you expert advice on making personal treatment choices, managing symptoms, staying healthy, and maximizing your health insurance options — as well as how to deal with relapses and complications so you can keep your life on track.

"When I found out I had MS, other than finally having a label for my problem, I still had no idea what to do with it. . . . Had I had a wonderful book as simple to navigate, yet as comprehensive as Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies, my family and I would have saved a lot of time and aggravation. . . . After reading Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies, you will be much more capable of asking your doctor the right questions, and that makes you an effective component of your own treatment."

—David L. Lander ("Squiggy" from Laverne & Shirley), proud member of the MS community

Discover how to

  • Get an accurate diagnosis
  • Assemble your healthcare team
  • Cope with advanced symptoms
  • Enjoy family life with MS
  • Request accommodations at work
  • Explain MS to others
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118050996
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 2/25/2011
  • Series: For Dummies Series
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 435,129
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

The authors’ shared commitment to multiple sclerosis (MS) began more than 25 years ago at the MS Care Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, under the direction of Labe Scheinberg, MD, who is considered by many to be the father of MS comprehensive care.

Rosalind Kalb, PhD, is Associate Vice President of the Professional Resource Center at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City. After receiving her doctorate in clinical psychology from Fordham University in 1977, Dr. Kalb began her career at the MS Care Center, providing individual, group, and family therapy for people living with MS. Dr. Kalb is the author of the National MS Society’s Knowledge is Power series for individuals newly diagnosed with MS and is an editor of Keep S’myelin, the newsletter for children who have a parent with MS. Dr. Kalb has edited two books on MS — Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have, The Answers You Need, 3rd Edition (Demos Medical Publishing, 2004), and Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide for Families, 3rd Edition (Demos Medical Publishing, 2006). She is also coauthor, along with Nicholas LaRocca, PhD, of the book Multiple Sclerosis: Understanding the Cognitive Challenges (Demos Medical Publishing, 2006).

Nancy Holland, EdD, RN, is Vice President of Clinical Programs at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in New York City. Prior to joining the Society, Dr. Holland served as the MS Care Center’s Clinic Coordinator and Director of Training for 15 years. She is a founding director of the International Organization of MS Nurses. She is also author or editor of more than 60 MSrelated articles, chapters, and books, including Comprehensive Nursing Care in Multiple Sclerosis, 2nd Edition (Demos Medical Publishing, 2002), Multiple Sclerosis: A Self-Care Guide for Wellness, 2nd Edition (Demos Medical Publishing, 2005), and Multiple Sclerosis: A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed, 3rd Edition (Demos Medical Publishing, 2007). Dr. Holland earned a doctorate in higher and adult education from Columbia University, and holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing.

Barbara Giesser, MD, is an Associate Clinical Professor of Neurology and Clinical Director of the MS Program at the University of Los Angeles (UCLA) David Geffen School of Medicine. She also serves as the Medical Director of the UCLA Marilyn Hilton MS Achievement Center.

Dr. Giesser has specialized in the care of persons with MS since 1982, beginning with her training at the MS Care Center. She has been an invited lecturer to speak about MS in regional, national, and international venues, and has published research in the areas of cognition, gender issues, and rehabilitation strategies in persons with MS. Additionally, she has been active in developing educational materials about MS for medical students, residents, healthcare professionals, and people with MS for organizations including the NMSS and the American Academy of Neurology.

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Table of Contents



Part I: When MS Becomes Part of Your Life.

Chapter 1: Meeting MS Face to Face.

Chapter 2: So, What Is it, Doc? Getting a Diagnosis.

Chapter 3: You’ve Been Diagnosed — So What’s Next?

Chapter 4: Creating Your Healthcare Team.

Part II: Taking Charge of Your MS.

Chapter 5: Developing Your Management Plan to Take Charge of Your MS.

Chapter 6: Managing the Disease Course and Treating Relapses.

Chapter 7: Managing Fatigue, Walking Problems, Visual Changes, and Tremor.

Chapter 8: Handling Problems with Bladder and Bowel Function, Pain, Sex, and Speech and Swallowing.

Chapter 9: Getting Your Head around Problems with Thinking and Mood.

Chapter 10: Considering Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Part III: Staying Healthy and Feeling Well.

Chapter 11: Paying Attention to Your Health — It’s Not All about MS.

Chapter 12: Handling Stress without Giving Up Your Life.

Chapter 13: Coping with Advanced MS.

Part IV: Managing Lifestyle Issues.

Chapter 14: Presenting Your MS Face to the World.

Chapter 15: Making MS a Part of the Family.

Chapter 16: And Baby Makes Three, Four, or More: Planning a Family around Your MS.

Chapter 17: Parenting: It Wasn’t Easy Before You Had MS!

Part V: Creating Your Safety Nets.

Chapter 18: Keeping Your Place in the Workforce.

Chapter 19: Getting a Grip on Insurance.

Chapter 20: Planning for a Future with MS.

Part VI: The Part of Tens.

Chapter 21: Ten Must-Do’s for Living with MS.

Chapter 22: Ten MS Myths Debunked.

Chapter 23: Ten Tips for Trouble-Free Travel.

Part VII: Appendixes.

Appendix A: Glossary.

Appendix B: Additional Resources.

Appendix C: Medications Commonly Used in MS.


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Interviews & Essays

Cheat Sheet for Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies

From Multiple Sclerosis For Dummies, 2nd Edition by Rosalind Kalb, Ph.D., Barbara Giesser, MD, Kathleen Costello, MS, ANP-BC, MSCN, MSCS

Whether you've recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) or you've been living with this chronic illness for years, you want to live your life as fully and comfortably as possible. The good news is you can. The symptoms of MS are manageable with medications, and rehabilitation strategies and treatments can reduce disease activity and slow progression. This Cheat Sheet provides insightful information about what you can do to stay active and feel your best.

Ways to Feel Your Best When You Have Multiple Sclerosis

Some days you may feel pretty lousy when you have multiple sclerosis (MS). Other days you may feel okay or just so-so. If you're oh-so-tired of feeling way below par, not to worry. You can improve the way you feel. These helpful tips can start you on your way to feeling healthy and well in spite of MS.
• Talk with your neurologist — as early in the disease process as you can — about treatment with one of the approved disease-modifying therapies to slow disease activity and progression and reduce further nerve damage as much as possible.
• Work with your MS team to manage your symptoms, avoid complications, and maintain your quality of life.
• If you're feeling sad or down more often than not, contact your medical doctor or neurologist to make sure your mood gets the attention it deserves.
• Make time for rest, exercise, and healthy, balanced meals.
• See your general medical doctor routinely for physical exams and screening tests.
• Use the following effective cooling strategies:
 Avoid hot showers, hot tubs, and saunas.
 Limit your time in the hot sun.
 Exercise in a cool environment.
 Drink iced fluids
 Check out cooling vests and scarves.

• Call a friend — there's no need to go it alone.\
• Don't wait for a crisis — tap the resources that are out there to help you.
• Stay focused on your goals — you don't need to make a career out of MS.

Hints to Managing Your Energy Bank with MS
When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), your energy may be in very short supply. Some days you feel like taking on the world and other days you feel like taking to your bed. You're not alone. When you experience energy ups and downs, you can be proactive and manage your energy bank in the following ways to help you get through each day:
• Set priorities to ensure the best use of your daily energy supply.
• Make deposits (naps are great!) in addition to your withdrawals.

• Use your energy supply efficiently by doing the following:
 Using the right tools/mobility devices
 Making your home/work spaces accessible and convenient
 Asking for help when you need it

• Do the most difficult tasks when you have the most energy.
• Pace yourself instead of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion.
• Talk to your doctor about symptoms that disrupt your sleep.
• Stay cool — literally and figuratively.
• Review your medications with your doctor (some have sleepiness or fatigue as a side effect, while others are prescribed to relieve it).

A Snapshot of Your Healthcare Team When You Have MS
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) means developing a strong relationship with your doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. They can work with you to manage your symptoms, slow the disease course, and cope with day-to-day challenges. The following are the important members of your healthcare team:
• Neurologist (or in some situations it may be a nurse practitioner or physician assistant): Diagnoses and treats MS and other neurologic diseases.
• Nurse: Provides education and support for all treatment issues.

• Primary care physician: Manages non-MS health issues and preventive care.

• Rehabilitation specialists: Promote independence, safety, and quality of life. For example, consider the following:
• Physiatrist: A physician specializing in rehabilitation medicine.
• Physical therapist: Promotes strength, mobility, and balance through exercise and training in the use of mobility aids.
• Occupational therapist: Promotes function in activities of daily living via energy management, assistive technology, and environmental modifications (may also treat cognitive symptoms).
• Speech/language pathologist: Diagnoses and treats problems with voice quality, speech, and swallowing (may also treat cognitive symptoms).
• Vocational rehabilitation counselor: Assists with career planning and retraining.

• Mental health professionals: Provide diagnosis, treatment, and support for a wide range of emotional issues, as well as education for stress management, goal-setting, and problem-solving strategies.
• Psychiatrist: A physician specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems.
• Psychotherapist (psychologist, social worker, counselor): Provides counseling, information, and support for individuals and families.
• Neuropsychologist: Diagnoses and treats cognitive symptoms.

• Additional medical specialists: Provide specialized expertise in medical areas that may be impacted by MS or are of particular interest to folks with MS.
• Neuroophthalmologist: A physician specializing in neurologically related visual symptoms.
• Urologist: A physician specializing in urinary problems and male sexual function.
• *Obstetrician/gynecologist: A physician specializing in women's reproductive care.

Partner with Your Neurologist to Battle Multiple Sclerosis
Your neurologist is the key member of your healthcare team. As a specialist in diseases of the nervous system, he or she provides treatment options to manage your MS and the symptoms it can cause. The neurologist can also help you engage other healthcare professionals on your team — the nurse, rehabilitation professionals, and mental health experts who can work with you to optimize your health, daily functioning, and quality of life. If you have a neurologist, keep these tips in mind to make your partnership as strong as possible. If you don't, check out the first bullet to find a qualified specialist.
• Call the National MS Society (800-FIGHT-MS or 800-344-4867) for a list of neurologists in your area with MS expertise.
• For each visit to the neurologist, do the following:
• Be prepared to describe and prioritize problems and symptoms.
• Write down any questions you have so you don't go home without the answers you need.
• To catch everything the doc says, bring your partner or a friend or a tape recorder.
• Make sure your doctor has an up-to-date list of all the medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and supplements you are taking.
• Take your medications as they have been prescribed for you and be sure to talk with your doctor about any concerns, problems, or side effects.
• If you don't understand something, ask (the goal is to know more rather than less when you leave the doctor's office).
• If you need a long consultation (to discuss family planning decisions, employment decisions, sexual dysfunction, and so on), schedule a separate appointment or phone call.
• Don't wait for a crisis — see your MS doctor on a regular basis.
• If you feel you need or want a second opinion, don't hesitate to get one.

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  • Posted January 5, 2012

    Perfect book for the newly diagnosed.

    This book helps with all the question you have and the one
    question you were too embrassed to ask.
    A must have, for all those diagnosed with MS.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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