Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own nerves. Over time it can greatly affect a person’s ability to move and perform everyday functions.
MS can be debilitating. Maintaining a sense of independence may become difficult as the disease progresses. Researchers asked 335 individuals with MS to rank their top 20 activities in order of importance. Participants averaged 53 years of age and had MS for about 15 years.
Results ranked the following activities in order of importance: Getting out and about, spending time with family and friends, managing bills and expenses and participating in clubs and civic and political events.
With the information researchers aimed to improve health and quality of people with MS. According to Healthline, about 200 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each week. Globally, MS affects an estimated 2.5 million people.
The research team uncovered those with MS were held back from participating in social and community activities due to lack of confidence, physical and mental impairments and environmental factors.
All three factors play a role with one another, according to Matthew Plow, assistant professor from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. He said he and his team now want to create interventions to build up confidence.
They said they feel by boosting confidence, those with MS will be more inclined to want to partake in new skills and make changes for themselves.
The findings were reported in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine.