‘Hidden’ factors influencing quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis

Traditional outcome measures for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), whether in clinical trials or clinical practice, are currently in question. The combination of relapses, physical disability progression and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) disease activity reflect only part of the impact that MS has on a patient’s daily life. Quality of life (QoL) is considered by many to be the ideal outcome measure. Since it captures the patient’s own perspective of well-being, QoL should be the primary focus when evaluating a patient and the main objective of MS management. Nevertheless, whilst numerous instruments to measure QoL in MS patients are available or proposed, there is no current consensus regarding which is the best tool to use and under what circumstances. QoL in patients with MS is determined by several factors beyond the more obvious; these include coping with the MS diagnosis, understanding the disease and the disease process, dealing with so-called ‘hidden’ symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive impairment and sexual disturbances, and managing the many associated personal challenges such as social isolation, family issues and working difficulties. Evidence is emerging that psychological interventions may be beneficial in MS patients although more research is required to confirm their utility. This article examines some factors that influence QoL in MS patients which may be overlooked in the general busyness of routine clinical practice.

via European Journal of Neurology – Wiley Online Library.

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