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FAQs about MS
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It is one of the most common neurologic diseases in young adults. Symptoms may include weakness, numbness and tingling, visual problems, lack of coordination, bladder and bowel problems,and, frequently, severe fatigue.
Is MS fatal?
MS is not generally considered to be a fatal disease. Most persons with MS have a normal life expectancy.
Is MS contagious?
What causes MS?
The exact cause of MS is unknown; it is widely believed to be the result of environmental factors, e.g. exposure to sunlight and Vitamin D production in early life, superimposed on a genetic predisposition. This combination of environmental and genetic factors produces the autoimmune response against the nervous system.
It is most common in Caucasian women, between the ages of 20-50.
Is there a cure for MS?
Currently no cure exists for MS, in terms of permanently stopping and reversing nerve damage. Current treatments greatly reduce future damage and in many cases slow progression. Symptom management improves function and quality of life.
Why do I need an MRI?
MRIs of the brain and spinal cord show what parts of the nervous system are affected by MS and if there is any active inflammation MRIs are used to help establish an MS diagnosis and monitor response to treatment.
How do I know if my medication is working?
DMTs reduce relapses, inflammation and the development of new areas of scarring that are seen on MRI. Patients are monitored with respect to their clinical status and changes on MRI.
Can women with MS have children?
Definitely! Most women with MS experience fewer relapses during pregnancy and MS does not affect fertility or childbirth.
Is there a special diet for persons with MS?
Currently there are no dietary regimens that have well conducted scientific studies that indicate their benefit ( or harm) in persons with MS. Current dietary recommendations include Vitamin D supplementation with monitoring, and a “heart healthy” diet low in saturated fats and refined sugars.
Will exercise and physical activity make MS worse?
No ! A regular program of exercise and physical activity is one of the most important and beneficial things a person with MS can do to maintain their health and function.. If a person with MS gets overheated during exercise they may temporarily have some increase in symptoms, but this can be managed with cooling strategies.
How do I schedule an appointment?
You may request an appointment with the UCLA MS clinic by calling 310-794-1195 or by completing the online appointment request form. Depending on your insurance, you may be required to obtain a referral from your primary care provider before you may be seen.
What do I need to bring the day of the appointment?
In order for our MS specialists to provide you with a complete and thorough assessment they will need access to your prior neurologic records. If your records have not been sent to UCLA prior to your appointment, please bring any neurologic medical records you may have to your appointment. Please be sure to bring to bring the disc containing your Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) if it has not been sent to the clinic beforehand.
If establish care with the UCLA MS clinic, how frequently will I be seen for follow up?
If you decide you would like to be followed by the UCLA MS team for ongoing care you may be seen at 3-month or 6-month intervals. It is possible you may need to be seen more frequently. To maintain ongoing care, it is generally required that you are seen by a UCLA MS specialist at least every 6 months.
How can I contact my MS healthcare provider if I have a question or concern?
You may contact our MS team members by calling the clinic and leaving a message. Once you have been seen in the UCLA MS clinic, you may send an MS team member a message online through the My Chart patient portal. My Chart messages usually receive a response within 1-2 business days.
How do I obtain my medical records from UCLA?
If you have been referred to the UCLA MS clinic for a consultation by your primary care provider or by another neurologist, records from your UCLA MS clinic visit will automatically be sent to your referring provider. If you wish to obtain records for yourself, you may contact the UCLA medical records department at 310-825-6021. If you completed imaging at UCLA and you need a copy of your MRI disc you may request this from the film library by calling 310-825-6425.