A study observed differences in health promotion and quality of life (QoL) between patients with progressive versus non-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS).
Data were collected from years 21 and 22 of an ongoing longitudinal study. Demographic, psychosocial, and health promotion factors and the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) QoL subscales were assessed using surveys that were mailed to study participants. To be eligible for inclusion in the present study, patients had to respond to surveys distributed in 2017 and 2018. Patients who selected “unable to choose one answer or don’t know” for their type of MS course in the 2018 study were not included in the present analysis. Hierarchical multivariate regressions that encompassed barriers, symptom clusters, social supports, and health promotion activities were used to forecast selected SF-36 subscale scores in patients with progressive versus non-progressive MS; the researchers controlled for variance related to years of education and MS incapacity.
There were 72 patients with progressive MS and 117 with non-progressive MS who responded to both surveys. Patients in the progressive group had significantly less frequent health promotion, as well as lower scores on SF-36 physical role limitations and social functioning. In both cohorts, symptoms strongly and significantly predicted all three SF-36 subscales. When looking at the hierarchical models, explained variances largely differed between the groups; in the progressive MS group, adjusted R2 scores ranged from 0.17 to 0.30 compared with 0.35 to 0.45 in the non-progressive MS group.
“The scope of symptom management for people with progressive MS should be broader and not limited only to symptoms typically associated with MS. Non-pharmaceutical therapies targeting symptoms such as fatigue could be considered and are being addressed in several ongoing studies of MS,” the study authors concluded.