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Home > About MS > Information for the Newly Diagnosed
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Information for the Newly Diagnosed

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What Does "Newly Diagnosed" Mean?
Encouraging Information about MS
Things You Can Do
Including Your Family and Friends
If You Have Children, What Should You Tell Them?
Developing a Plan is Key
Employment Concerns - Things to Consider
For More Information and Support



Photo of a woman smiling What Does "Newly Diagnosed" Mean?
  • For many, being newly diagnosed finally gives a name to having some unexplained symptoms
  • Once someone has been newly diagnosed with MS, he or she may actually feel a sense of relief
  • MSAA offers a collection of "Multiple Sclerosis information" (MSi) online educational videos and webinars that address many important topics of interest to the MS community
  • You may feel alone, but you are not; an estimated 400,000 people in the United States have MS
  • When MS enters the picture, it usually requires some adjustments, but most people can still enjoy a full and productive life

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Photo of 2 men talking Encouraging Information about MS
  • MS is not contagious, and in general, does not usually shorten one's life expectancy
  • Living a healthy lifestyle (under the direction of your doctor) can help you to feel your best
  • Since the early 1990s, many long-term treatments and symptom-management therapies have become available
  • Research is ongoing around the world with many new, promising treatments on the way
  • MSAA is available to provide a number of vital programs and services to help individuals with their day-to-day needs and to learn about MS

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Photo of doctors & nurses Things You Can Do
  • You will need time to adjust to the new diagnosis, so take things at your own pace
  • Having confidence in the members of the healthcare team you have selected, and following their treatment recommendations, are of great importance
  • Write a list of questions and concerns in advance to prepare for any medical appointments
  • Keep your own personal health journal, as you are the best reporter of your symptoms to your healthcare professionals
  • Don't be surprised if you do not understand what is initially happening, or if the unpredictability of symptoms causes you anxiety; this is not unusual, but as you learn more about MS and find a treatment plan, these feelings will subside
  • Speaking with a professional can provide answers to your questions, while some find that participating in a support group for newly diagnosed individuals may also be of help

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Photo of 3 teenage girls looking at a cellphone Including Your Family and Friends
  • Most family and friends will try to be supportive, but at times they might not know what to do
  • Many MS symptoms are "invisible," so while you might be experiencing numbness or extreme fatigue, you will still look the same to those around you
  • When you are ready, having open discussions with family members and friends can greatly help with their understanding of MS and your feelings
  • Explain that you are still the same person that you were before the diagnosis

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Photo of a father and son If You Have Children, What Should You Tell Them?
  • Being honest and open with your children is the best plan
  • Explain to your child that you are still the same person
  • By sharing your experiences in coping with MS, you are teaching your child about the journey of life
  • Emphasize support systems like extended family, teachers, and friends
  • MSAA offers valuable children's books titled Mommy's Story and Daddy's Story

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Photo of a doctor shaking a patient's hand Developing a Plan is Key
  • A comprehensive plan of care, not limited to multiple sclerosis, is important
  • This should be done together with your healthcare providers
  • Patients need to be very careful not to blame every symptom on MS, and to inform their healthcare team of any new or worsening symptoms

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Photo of a man wearing a hardhat in a warehouse Employment Concerns - Things to Consider
  • An employee should consider whether or not to disclose his or her diagnosis to his or her employer
  • A variety of resources is available to assist employees with MS
  • Many people choose to work for reasons other than income, such as interaction with others, satisfaction from completing tasks, and the need to feel valued in society
  • Some people with MS remain in their jobs with little or no modifications to their present working situation, while others may decide to be retrained to work in another area or career

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For More Information and Support

MSAA can help in many ways.
  • To speak with a trained Helpline specialist, please call MSAA's toll-free Helpline at (800) 532-7667, extension 154.
  • Do you have questions that you would like to send in via email? If so, please send your inquiries to: MSquestions@mymsaa.org
  • Individuals, friends, and family members, may also read or participate in MSAA's blog, MS Conversations. This features timely, interactive discussions of topics that are important to the entire MS community.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 November 2014 11:33