With new medicines now available, people with multiple sclerosis have better ways of preventing MS attacks, said Stuart Olinsky, MD, neurologist with UPMC in the Susquehanna Region.

“But also we’ve made strides in terms of rehabilitation and getting people to become more active,” he said. “People used to sit around after they got the diagnosis. We don’t let them do that anymore, and I think that keeping active really helps. I encourage people to keep active, to work fulltime if that’s at all possible, and I think that makes them more productive.”

Better medicines and keeping active also affects a person’s mindset, encouraging a positive attitude.

“What we have to offer people both in terms of treatment and in terms of hope is way better than what we had in the past,” Olinsky said.

Like in other areas of medicine, multiple sclerosis treatment is becoming more and more individualized. Doctors can adapt treatment to combat how the disease affects each individual.

“Not all MS patients are the same,” said Megan Esch, MD, neurologist with Geisinger Health System. “Their symptoms aren’t the same. The way the disease manifests is not the same. The fact that we have so many options really allows us to tailor treatment to each patient. So I would consider that a huge advancement.”

She pointed out options for treating even a rare form of multiple sclerosis called Progressive MS.

“Up until 2017, there were no approved treatments for it,” she said. “We now have three or four approved treatments for Progressive MS.”

n Cindy O. Herman lives in Snyder County. Email comments to her at CindyOHerman@gmail.com

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