When we talk about ‘advanced MS’, we mean MS which severely affects someone, usually after many years. You're severely affected by MS if it restricts a lot how much you can move around. You'll also have a lot of MS symptoms at the same time. These won't go away and are complicated to deal with.
All this means that, in your day to day life, you have to rely on others a lot, or completely.
You might become severely affected only for a while, during a serious relapse when your symptoms and disability suddenly get worse. Whether you're severely affected by MS for a while or permanently, it can affect almost everything you do, from eating to going outside.
Usually people who are severely affected by MS gradually get that way after many years of having it. When MS affects you this badly, you may need to make major changes to your life. This can be a challenge for you and those close to you.
You, and the family and friends who look after you, will need the right care and support. This includes the right services as well as equipment to help you keep your independence.
Symptoms of advanced MS
The symptoms of advanced MS are similar to those you can get at any stage of MS.
The difference is that you'll get many of these symptoms at the same time. These symptoms won't go away and can be difficult to deal with.
Click the links to read more about these symptoms and how to manage them:
- Pain in muscles nerves and joints, and sensory changes
- Bladder and bowel problems including incontinence, urinary tract infections and constipation
- Limited mobility and weakness (upper body and legs). Read more in our factsheets on balance and posture and moving well with MS
- Muscle spasms, cramps and stiffness
- People severely affected by MS often find it difficult to chew and swallow food. Find out about swallowing problems.
- Speech problems
- Cognitive problems such as difficulties with memory and thinking
- Depression and emotional problems, including mood swings and emotional upheavals like bouts of anger or hyper-sensitivity
- Pressure sores also known as pressure ulcers or bed sores. Read more in our factsheet on pressure sores