Signs and Symptoms
MS is a neurological condition affecting elements of the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
There are three types;
Relapsing-remitting (RRMS) when the individual has partial or total recovery after attacks. Roughly 75% of cases are RRMS. In secondary progressive (SPMS) the person only partially recoveries after an attack. In primary progressive (PPMS) the symptoms gradually worsen rather than being periodic attacks.
MS is caused by scars within the central nervous system that interfere with nerve impulses. Symptoms of the condition are unique to each person as they are dependent on where these scars manifest and their severity.
Symptoms can include;
» Muscular spasms, loss of mobility, weakness, problems with balance, motor control and co-ordination
» Difficulty concentrating and loss of memory
» Vertigo and impaired vision
» Bladder incontinence and/or constipation
On average more than 10 Australians are diagnosed with MS every week
Affect on Daily Life at Work
» Impaired vision and memory loss may affect their ability to focus and complete tasks
» May need to avoid working in environments where loss of balance could cause injury
» In cases where the condition has progressed, speech, mobility and everyday tasks such as eating and drinking may be affected by tremors
» Muscular spasms may cause difficulty sleeping and hence fatigue and irritability
» They may experience mental health conditions as a result of their diagnosis
» Maintain a supportive attitude and open communication so you are aware of fluctuations in their condition.
» Understand their history with the condition, their medication and side effects.
» Conduct a workplace assessment to determine if they need assistive technology or modifications
» Offer flexible working conditions and additional breaks to accomodate for random or frequent attacks.
» Ensure you’re aware of emergency contacts and when they should be used.
» Examine workplace accessibility and layout, considering potential injury due to loss of balance
For additional resources and support, visit MS Australia