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Multiple Sclerosis Patients Identify Symptoms that Worsen Quality of Life

Balance issues and depression are the main ways that multiple sclerosis hampers quality of life.

Loss of health-related quality of life is caused mostly by balance problems, muscle stiffness, and depression in people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), and for those with progressive MS, the causes are muscle rigidity, paralysis, weakness, and pain, according to a study based on patient-reported outcomes.

The study, “The disease burden of Multiple Sclerosis from the individual and population perspective: Which symptoms matter most?” was published in the journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders.

Loss of health-related quality of life in MS depends on multiple reasons, including symptoms affecting many functional domains. Studies are needed to evaluate the specific affects of each symptom on patients’ quality of life, in a careful and controlled way. Getting this information is key for successful symptom management and patient care.

Recognizing that need, a team of researchers set out to thoroughly investigate the extent to which specific MS symptoms affected patients’ quality of life, after controlling the results for multiple clinical, demographic, and socio-economic factors.

The study analyzed patient-reported surveys of 611 patients with RRMS and 244 with progressive MS, included in the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Registry (NCT02980640), which is an ongoing survey addressing the living conditions of MS patients in Switzerland.

Health-related quality of life was assessed by a patient self-report called the European Quality of Life 5- Dimension (EQ-5D-5L) index, comprising the dimensions of mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression.

In addition, patients were asked to range their overall health from 0% to 100%, corresponding to “the worst” and the “best imaginable” health, respectively, on an EQ-Visual Analogue Scale (EQ-VAS).

Researchers explored the correlation between the patient-reported levels of quality of life and 20 MS-related symptoms, their socio-demographic and clinical information. Independent analyses were done for RRMS and PPMS patients, and the impact of symptoms was evaluated both at individual and population levels.

Read on: Multiple Sclerosis Patients Identify Symptoms that Worsen Quality of Life

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