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Preventative measures can be taken to possibly decrease hospitalization rates for people living with multiple sclerosis.

Benjamin Franklin stated, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Although he was referring to fire prevention, this statement can be applied to diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis (MS). There is no prevention or cure for MS itself but there are preventative measures that can be taken to decrease the adverse effects, such as hospitalization, that can result from
this progressive disease.

In a study published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders, people with MS were found to have 65% higher odds of hospitalization for pneumonia1. People with MS have higher rates of pneumonia than people with diabetes mellitus, stroke, and those on immunosuppressive therapies2. There were also significant findings for urinary tract infections in this population. Another study published in Disability and Rehabilitation found the following3::

  • Urinary symptoms are common and troublesome for people living with MS but many suffer in silence.
    People with MS lack knowledge of urinary symptom treatment options.
  • There is a continuous need for healthcare provider (HCP) education about guidelines for screening and managing urinary symptoms in people with MS, as well as the role of HCPs that specialize in urinary services.
  • Healthcare providers and people living with MS are open to the use of transcutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (TTNS) for urinary symptoms.

The study in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders also found that patients with MS who received preventative services, such as cholesterol screenings and annual wellness checks, had lower odds of experiencing a potentially preventable hospitalization1. Another study found that including respiratory muscle training in the rehabilitation programs of patients with MS could improve their pelvic floor disorders and physical function4 which may decrease the incidence of UTIs.

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Decreased hospitalizations is a way to maintain wellness. Addressing urinary function and respiratory muscle weakness can aid in the prevention of hospitalizations for people living with MS.

References

Khan, A., Lin, P., Kamdar, N., Peterson, M., & Mahmoudi, E. (2022). Potentially preventable hospitalizations and use of preventive services among people with multiple sclerosis: Large cohort study, USA. Mult Scler Relat Disord, 68, 104105. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2022.104105

Lechner-Scott, J., Waubant, E., Levy, M., Hawkes, C., & Giovannoni, G. (2020). Is multiple sclerosis a risk factor for infections? Mult Scler Relat Disord, 41, 102184. doi:10.1016/j.msard.2020.102184

Al Dandan, H. B., Galvin, R., McClurg, D., Coote, S., & Robinson, K. (2022). Management strategies for neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction: a qualitative study of the experiences of people with multiple sclerosis and healthcare professionals. Disability and Rehabilitation, 44(15), 3805-3815. doi:10.1080/09638288.2021.1887378

Aguilar-Zafra, S., Del Corral, T., Montero-González, N., de-Gabriel-Hierro, A., & López-de-Uralde-Villanueva, I. (2022). Urinary incontinence and impaired physical function are associated with expiratory muscle weakness in patients with multiple sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 44(14), 3531-3539. doi:10.1080/09638288.2020.1867908