Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating, and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Permanent disability may relate to axonal damage. The etiology of MS remains elusive; treatment may be episodic, symptomatic, and designed for partial disease modification. Its hallmark is unpredictability marked by relapses and remissions or disease progression. Despite the new immunomodulating agents that diminish some individuals' relapse rates and clinical worsening, there is no cure for MS. Thus symptom management is a key feature of MS nursing care. Adequate control of symptoms can result in maximal function, prevention of injury or trauma, restoration of a sense of control, and promotion of an acceptable quality of life. The nurse plays a vital role in the spectrum of MS care, none so critical as in the effort to moderate and modulate the symptomatic problems related to the disease.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to: Deena Lisak, MA RN, Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, 8A University Health Center, 4201 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48201. She is a nurse educator for the Department of Neurology at Wayne State University. She also serves as the volunteer for the “Ask the Nurse” program at the Michigan Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
© 2001 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses