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National Survey Reveals People With Multiple Sclerosis Are Concerned About Disease's Impact on Relationships and Careers

Posted Dec 01 2009 10:05pm

WAYNE, N.J., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey among 100 Americans with multiple sclerosis (MS) shows that many face similar life challenges when newly diagnosed with the disease. In the survey, which looked at how the condition may impact people's relationships, lifestyles and careers, 70 percent of people with MS had at least one concern about how the disease would affect their personal relationships; more than 60 percent said that having a chronic, progressive disease in the prime of their career makes them less confident and secure in their job.

Today, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals launched Mastering MS, a public awareness campaign that provides tools and expert advice that can help those facing a chronic disease deal with its effects on their life at home and at work. The program offers brochures at www.multiplesclerosis.com/masteringMS about the early treatment of MS, as well as relationship and career advice for people newly diagnosed with the condition.

"An MS diagnosis can create anxiety," said Michele Wahlder, a psychotherapist and career coach from Dallas, Texas. "Support, whether from family, an MS nurse, career counselor or others, may be an integral ingredient to help people with MS deal with these feelings and potentially make adjustments to better manage their daily lives. These adjustments might include planning in advance for social activities or asking for workplace accommodations, such as shift changes or different computer equipment."

Seeking support after an MS diagnosis made a huge difference for Bradley, 48, who works in corporate franchise sales. "My job requires spending up to an hour on the phone at a time. When I was diagnosed with MS four years ago, I was worried that I would have problems holding the phone or growing tired," says Bradley. "I reached out to an MS nurse, and she gave me advice on how to manage my symptoms. She also taught me to make modifications to my work day, like taking periodic breaks when I feel fatigued. Her advice helped me feel more confident in my ability to succeed at work."

The survey, which looked at the perspectives of people with MS, found that many had similar concerns when they were first diagnosed:

  • In the U.S., seven in 10 people with MS reported being worried that they would no longer be able to perform their job as they did before being diagnosed
  • More than 85 percent of respondents have made changes to their social life as a result of their MS
  • The most frequently reported feelings among those who were married or dating (62 percent) were that their partners would become caregivers or have to handle their responsibilities
  • However, more than half of respondents said their partners and friends were among their biggest sources of emotional support

A young mother finds her support through her partner, and communicates with him about her MS. "The best way for me to help him understand how I'm feeling is to talk to him about it. He listens to me and my moods. I tell him when I'm tired and need to lie down, and then he will make dinner for our family or do the laundry. He is always there when I need him; he's my biggest supporter."

For more information about MS, Mastering MS and sources of support, visit www.multiplesclerosis.com/masteringMS.

About the Survey

The survey was sponsored by Bayer and conducted via telephone by WorldOne Research, a global market research company, among 100 people diagnosed with MS in the United States. All interviews were conducted via telephone. Of the survey respondents:

  • Seventy-eight were female, 22 were male
  • All were over the age of 18
  • Eighty-six percent had been diagnosed more than three years ago
  • Three-quarters were on long-term treatment at the time of the survey

AboutMastering MS

Mastering MS is a global awareness program that illustrates how chronic diseases like MS can affect a person's personal relationships and work life, whether as a spouse, parent, child, friend or co-worker. The campaign shows that with the right tools, including early treatment, people with chronic diseases like MS may be able to have physically and emotionally fulfilling lives, despite the condition. Mastering MS offers resources people with chronic diseases like MS might need to manage their condition, as well as to better cope with changes that may occur in their personal and professional relationships.

About MS

MS is a disease that affects the body's central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, optic nerves). It is the most common central nervous system disease among young adults, with approximately 400,000 people currently diagnosed in the United States. The symptoms of MS vary from person to person and can be unpredictable. Common symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, weakness of one or more limb, numbness and tingling, stiffness, dizziness, slurred speech, and loss of bladder control.

In most cases, MS progresses over time, but early diagnosis and treatment may help slow disease progression and manage symptoms.

About Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. is the U.S.-based pharmaceuticals operation of Bayer HealthCare, an affiliate of Bayer AG. One of the world's leading, innovative companies in the healthcare and medical products industry, Bayer HealthCare combines the global activities of the Animal Health, Consumer Care, Diabetes Care, and Pharmaceuticals divisions. In the United States, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals comprises the following business units: Women's Healthcare, Diagnostic Imaging, General Medicine, Hematology/Neurology, and Oncology. The company's aim is to discover and manufacture products that will improve human health worldwide by diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group or subgroup management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer's public reports which are available on the Bayer website atwww.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

SOURCE Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.

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