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Aging with MS

I am 67 years old and I have relapsing/remitting MS. I've had MS for 25 years. I feel very fortunate not to have progressive MS at this point.

As I get older I find it more and more confusing to separate MS symptoms from "normal" aging symptoms. The neurologists I've asked told me that for the most part it is hard to tell. One article I read said that of course we get all the aging stuff, but we tend to be ahead of the curve by about 10 years.

The thing that worries me most is increasing cognitive loss. About ten years ago I did go through the testing for dementia, and at that time was told that t I did not have alzheimer's or other common dementias. So the mental fog continues, and continues to get worse.

I suppose in the long run it really doesn't matter. As always with this disease I waiting for the next adventure. Is anyone else experiencing this?

  1. Hi Pvann! You bring up a very good point. It can be quite hard to discern what is an age-related issue and what is an MS symptom. Especially as one ages. I think it was wise for you to get testing ten years ago, as you now have a baseline for your cognitive function to compare against, should you get testing done in the future. I sincerely hope you NEVER deal with dementia or Alzheimer's, although I understand that cognitive issues ("cog fog" as it is sometimes called) are no fun! In addition to any community feedback you may receive, I thought you might like this article on the topic of aging and MS -- I know that two of our contributors, Kim Dolce and Laura Kolaczkowsi, write about aging and MS from time to time. I hope this information helps! Thank you for being a part of the community. Have a good evening! Best, Erin, Team Member.

    1. Interesting indeed. My biggest problem in the last couple of years has been cognitive. I fall into the “but you look so good” MS category, no visual disabilities, although I have a handicap pass (thankfully so I don’t have a huge parking lot in which to lose my car!), and am disabled according to the federal government.
      I have found that in the last 5 years since I have had my daughter I regularly get fellow mothers just attributing my “forgetfulness” to “baby brain.” While that may have worked for the first 2-3 years post-childbirth, I think people will have to reason an “excuse” for me in their minds in some other fashion.
      Still too young for one to believe I have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease (only 41 years old), but you never know. I, however, like you, have my trusty neuropsych report to substantiate my cognitive disability and to serve as a benchmark moving forward.
      I now exercise regularly and hope to hold (or better yet, reverse) my cognitive abilities in place.
      Another interesting point discussed with my husband and my neurologist is to question whether my DMT is really preventing the cognitive issue. If I had physical problems arise, then it would be easier to say switch my DMT and try something new, but with cognitive issues, it is harder to pinpoint — even on one’s MRI.

      1. I am 76 and have been aware of my MS for 19 years. The cognitive part is hard to cope with. I was always the one that scheduled every family affair, stayed up on financial and now I don't have those traits anymore, I have MS. MS takes your short term memory and you can't get it back. I have a good support family and I have dealt with the cognitive by telling each of my children to e-mail me all dates of anything they plan to do or I need to know. That way, I instantly write it on my desk calendar and I check that each day. You learn to cope because MS takes away you.

        1. Hi chong61, it must be so frustrating for you to lose the abilities that you once prided yourself on, but I'm so glad that you have a supportive family and have come up with ways to help you remember important dates. Having a daily calendar to update and check is such a great idea, thanks for sharing it with everyone here!
          -Alina, Team Member

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