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Once diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, it can be very difficult for patients to tell their friends, family, children, that they have MS. There are a lot of preconceptions in the general population about what MS is, how disabled people will become. People tend to think that people with MS will end up in a wheelchair very quickly, which can make it very difficult to tell friends and family that you have been diagnosed with this condition. We would, however, advise that you do tell your nearest and dearest, whether that's your mother, your husband, your best friend, that you have been diagnosed with this condition. The MS Society, the MS Trust, and MSUK all do produce very good information that we would recommend that you read and also can give to your relatives about this condition. Often the earlier that you do tell people about it, the easier it is for them to start to understand the condition.

Once you've been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, you will be reviewed at the hospital by a neurologist. The NICE guidelines stress that you should be reviewed at least yearly, but MS is a highly individual condition; everybody reacts to the diagnosis in a different way. T symptoms affect people in different ways, so the frequency with which you are reviewed at a hospital is dependent on the symptoms you have and really how you're managing.

If you are prescribed one of the various disease-modifying therapies, you will be reviewed probably six-monthly. If you are having a particularly bad time with symptoms, we would certainly recommend that you contact your local MS nurse to perhaps arrange an appointment or discuss the symptoms through on the phone. However, the care of a person with MS involves a multidisciplinary team. By that I mean social workers, counsellors, speech and language therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists. So the role of an MS nurse can be quite a sign-posting one. If a patient presents with swallowing difficulties, then the nurses would refer them to the speech and language therapists. If a person is having problems walking, then they would may well have a referral to a physiotherapist. For those patients who are perhaps a little bit more disabled and are having problems at home, an occupational therapy review will be arranged at their house to determine whether any adaptations can be made to help them.

The really long-term management is very individual; it's tailored to that individual person. There does need to be a partnership between the nurse and the patient and they do... The patient does need to contact the MS nurse if they are experiencing any changes in their condition which they feel changes in management would benefit.

I think general public suffer from the same ignorance that I did when I was first diagnosed, not really knowing exactly how it's going to present itself, and trying to anticipate maybe what kind of problems or what kind of issues somebody with MS has. There is a... Whenever it appears in the media, such as for example, on television, including soap operas, often characters are experiencing either a very exaggerated form whereby they seem to be hit with every conceivable symptom known to man, or conversely, present themselves as not suffering at all, and of course, neither of which are... They betray the truth of what the condition is.