Some health issues affect all women and men, whether or not they have multiple sclerosis (MS), but are of particular concern when they may add to the symptoms or functional impairment brought about by a disabling condition. Therefore, health maintenance is extremely important in MS. Be aware that not all symptoms are related to MS.
General healthcare should include regular general checkups by your primary care physician, with assessments appropriate for your age and current symptoms and concerns. Assessment of current symptoms and problems, blood pressure assessment, Pap smears, prostate examination, and tests and examinations appropriate for the person's age are indicated. Table 12.1 summarizes the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's preventive care recommendations for adults with MS.
Examples of screening for all people include:
• Fasting cholesterol every 5 years starting at age 20.
• Fecal blood annually over age 50.
• Sigmoidoscopy every 5 years or colonoscopy every 10 years over age 50.
• Clinical breast examination annually over age 40 in women.
• Mammography every 1 to 2 years over age 40 in women.
• Vision exam annually over age 65.
• Hearing exam every 5 years over age 50.
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