Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in relation with Depression and other Diseases

Added October 5, 2018

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a potentially disabling disease affecting the brain and spinal cord, or in other words, the Central Nervous System. With MS, the immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths which cover nerve fibers. This then causes communication disruptions between the brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves to become permanently deteriorated or damaged.

Varying Symptoms of MS

The signs and symptoms of MS vary greatly between each patient depending on the location of the affected nerve fibers and the degree or extent of nerve damage. Symptoms can change and fluctuate over time which is unpredictable for consistent treatment unless intensively monitored, which then gives a basis to predict care measures needed for the future. At the present, there are no known cures for Multiple Sclerosis, however, it is the goal at CareAdopt to reduce the disease symptoms through our monitored and comprehensive care program. This will lead to an effectual maintenance of the disease and longer periods of remission, reducing the frequency and the cost of patient re-admittance into the Emergency Department.

In 2017 The National MS Society conducted a study. The preliminary findings indicated that an estimated 1 million people within the US live with MS, which is twice the previously reported number. It is estimated 2.3 million individuals are living with MS Worldwide with numbers increasing into the foreseeable future.

Although MS symptoms vary, the following are some more frequently evidenced in chronic patients.

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Walking (gait) difficulties
  • Spasticity
  • Weakness
  • Vision problems
  • Dizziness and Vertigo
  • Bladder and Bowel problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Chronic pain
  • Cognitive and emotional changes
  • Depression
  • Tremor and Seizures (less common)
  • Headache and hearing loss

Secondary and Tertiary symptoms may arise as a result of complications and inadequate up-keep of treatment by the patient. These include:

  • Bladder dysfunction, which leads to serious and repeated Urinary tract infections.
  • Inactivity which leads to loss of muscle tone, weakness, deficient postural alignment, and decreased bone density which results in increased risk of fractures and difficulty breathing.

If the effects of this disease are not fully and adequately treated by the practitioner and the patient themselves, tertiary symptoms will be the result. These include, but are not limited to, Psychological, Social and Vocational complexities, the main factor being clinical depression.

“60-70% of people with relapsing-remitting MS eventually develop a steady progression of symptoms, with or without periods of remission, known as secondary-progressive MS.”

The optimal goal of CareAdopt once a patient leaves a care facility, is to provide comprehensive care transition tutoring and monitoring which will help the patient identify, treat and maintain the primary symptoms through Remote Care Management so secondary and tertiary symptoms can be avoided altogether.

Clinical Depression is the most common symptom of Multiple Sclerosis

“Studies have suggested that clinical depression—the most severe form—is more frequent among people with MS than it is in the general population or in many other chronic illnesses. Depression is equally common in other immune-mediated, neuroinflammatory diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease) suggesting that inflammation is a contributing factor to depression in these conditions.”

As depression occurs, it deserves the same careful assessment, treatment, and maintenance as any other symptom of MS. People who are depressed often withdraw from social and everyday activities. The resulting lack of stimulation further reduces their quality of life, creating a downward spiral, physically and mentally.

“Patients with MS should be screened for psychiatric disorders. Since neurologists are primarily the ones treating MS patients, they should be aware of the increased suicide risk and the risk for suicide attempts among these patients,”

Effectively treating MS and underlying illnesses through a Care Management Program will lower Depression and HealthCare costs into future

Among people with MS, the most frequently cited reason for not getting access to treatment, such as prescription medications, is cost.

The National MS Society reports that, “The average annual costs for someone with MS in the U.S., including both direct and indirect costs (i.e. lost wages), is approximately $69,000. Of this, approximately $39,000 consists of health care costs. Total costs for all people with MS in the U.S. is approximately $28 billion annually…The costs associated with MS increase with greater disability. Costs for severely disabled individuals are more than twice those for persons with relatively mild disease.”

While clinical studies continue to research cures for MS, such as HSCT (Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant), these alternative treatments are not widely known, available or accessible to the general population of people who live with MS.

People with MS who live in more rural areas, especially those places most distant from large population centers, are more likely to have difficulty getting adequate MS treatment and ongoing care due to a lack of money and available resources.

Managing patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the primary care setting can be a complex process with high demand for treating practitioners time and resources. It is unsustainable in the near future unless there is another way. MS alone is a costly chronic disease but combine that with the underlying pre-existing conditions that sometimes go undiagnosed or inadequately untreated, and the healthcare costs for primary physicians and healthcare professionals are phenomenal.

Care coordination through CareAdopt’s remote technology benefits an organization by reducing the overall cost of treating chronic MS patients, reducing the frequency of readmissions into the ED, and enabling the patient to take hold of their own health and allowing them to have a positive experience towards improving their well-being. Adding extra hands-on services for the 5% high-cost and high-complexity patients will create a great financial, as well as clinical, impact towards your healthcare organization.

How CareAdopt fits into the Medical and Psychiatric Chronic Care Management Program

The treatment of chronic MS patients is an ongoing and demanding process, stretching the patient care team to the limits in time and resources as all-inclusive treatment requires multiple care providers across the range of the healthcare spectrum.

Patients with multiple chronic conditions cost up to 7 times more than a patient with one standard chronic illness.

Comprehensive chronic MS care begins with the accurate diagnosis, treatment and healthcare maintenance program monitored remotely by a care management team working directly with the patient. CareAdopt empowers your organization by expanding your reach, expertise, and success in improving value-based healthcare.