A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) can work with a person with MS in relation to any difficulties with communication and/or swallowing. If needed, working with an SLT is a positive step towards helping manage a person’s symptoms of MS, and maximise confidence, well-being and quality of life.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system (CNS). In MS, the body's immune system (or infection-fighting system) attacks its own cells. This response is known as an "autoimmune” response.
On average, people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50 years. Women are much more likely to get MS than men. The cause of MS remains unclear, although research shows that both environmental and genetic factors may play a part in a person developing MS.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease, and can be different for everyone. Difficulties vary from person to person, and can change, worsen, or remain stable over time. Symptoms of MS range from very mild to severe.
As mentioned above MS can vary from person to person and it is important to link with your medical team if you have any concerns.
Most Common Symptoms of MS
Less Common Symptoms of MS
The different types of MS are diagnosed based on how a person’s symptoms progress over time. The four main subtypes of MS are;
Primary Progressive MS (PPMS). In PPMS the person’s symptoms gradually worsen over time. There are no defined periods of MS “attacks” or “remissions”.
Secondary progressive MS (SPMS). Some people who start out with a diagnosis of RRMS reach a point where their symptoms no longer resolve after the “attacks”. MS symptoms gradually worsen over time, and they receive a new diagnosis of SPMS.
Unfortunately, diagnosing MS is complicated as there is no single test to diagnose the condition. In many cases, doctors can only diagnose MS after waiting to see how a person’s symptoms and test results change over time, and so a diagnosis may take months or even years.
There are a number of tests that your doctor can do to help in the diagnosis of MS, and also to rule out other conditions that may have symptoms similar to MS. These include;
The management of MS varies greatly depending on the person, the course of their MS, and their symptoms. MS is most commonly managed with a mix of both medical and non-medical treatments, as well as making healthy lifestyle choices including; eating a balanced diet, reducing stress levels, working to maintain good mental health, and exercising regularly. It is very important to seek advice from a doctor before starting any treatment.
A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) can work with a person with MS in relation to any difficulties with communication and/or swallowing.
Medical Treatments for MS
If I have Multiple Sclerosis, how can an SLT help?
A Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) can work with a person with MS in relation to any difficulties with communication and/or swallowing. If needed, working with an SLT is a positive step towards helping manage a person’s symptoms of MS, and maximise confidence, well-being and quality of life. SLTs can help people with MS who are having;
What to expect from SLT if you have MS
An SLT will work collaboratively with the person with MS, their family, and with other healthcare professionals to ensure effective management of their communication and/or swallowing problem. SLT may include;
A referral to an SLT is usually made by a GP, public health nurse, or other medical team, such as a Neurologist. SLTs work in a variety of settings, including community clinics, people's homes, and in hospitals. If you have concerns about any of the symptoms mentioned above please don’t hesitate to contact your GP / medical doctor about a referral to SLT.
Other useful resources
An Advance Healthcare Plan is an outline of a person's general wishes & preferences for their future healthcare & end of life care.
Swallowing disorders, known as dysphagia ( pronounced dis-fay-dya) affects a person’s ability to safely swallow drinks, food and medication. It can impact people across the lifespan.