Have you struggled with memory loss? Is it challenging to concentrate on certain tasks? You’re certainly not alone. It’s not unusual for individuals with multiple sclerosis to struggle with a variety of cognitive issues. Although severe cognitive impairment only affects a small percentage of MS patients, 66% of respondents in the MS in America survey noted experiencing cognitive dysfunction. Additionally, 49% of participants identified cognitive dysfunction as a symptom they experienced frequently (n=3,135).
Among individuals experiencing frequent cognitive symptoms, more than 80% struggled with memory loss, concentration/attention span, information processing, and verbal fluency:
We recently asked our Facebook community to share their techniques for managing frustrating cognitive symptoms. Here are some of the top tips:
- Keep lots of lists that you can take with you, either on paper (post-its, etc) or on your phone
- Use a calendar (paper or electronic) and update it on a regular schedule to keep track of important dates/events
- Utilize alarms for reminders – even for simple things that you might forget
- Avoid procrastination since you’re more likely to forget
- Keep important things in the same place so you’ll always know where to find them
- Label storage areas (drawers, boxes, bins, folders) so it’s easier to find things
- Stay mentally active by learning new things, picking up hobbies, meditating, or completing crossword puzzles
- Visualize the topic you’re talking about, it may help your mind stay focused
- Use written communication
- Be honest and ask for help from others, including your doctors
Don’t forget – recent research has suggested that aerobic exercise and cognitive leisure activities can also help improve memory and protect against cognitive decline.
Do you experience cognitive symptoms? How do you manage them?
The MS in America Study was conducted over the Internet from November 2012 until January 2013. The primary goal of the study was to establish an understanding of the current state and trends of patients affected by Multiple Sclerosis. The survey included over 100 questions on a broad range of topics. A total of 3,437 people started the survey while 2,562 people completed the survey resulting in a high completion rate of 74.5%. To qualify for the survey, participants had to be MS patients over 18 years old and a US resident or US citizen living abroad.
The study was solely developed and funded by Health Union, LLC which does not manufacture, sell nor market any product to diagnose, prevent or treat MS or any other disease.