Differences in Health Promotion, QOL in Progressive Versus Non-Progressive MS

Studies have found that health promotion is beneficial for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), but many of these studies have focused on patients with relapsing-remitting MS, with less available data for those with progressive MS. A study compared health promotion and quality of life (QOL) between patients with progressive versus non-progressive MS.

Data from years 21 and 22 of an ongoing longitudinal study of patients with MS were evaluated; patients were compared based on demographic, psychosocial, and health promotion factors, as well as the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) QOL subscales. The researchers entered barriers, symptom clusters, social supports, and health promotion activities into hierarchical multivariate regressions to forecast SF-36 subscale scores between patients with progressive versus non-progressive MS. Analyses controlled for years of education and MS incapacity.

Seventy-two patients with progressive MS and 117 patients with non-progressive MS were analyzed. Health promotion and SF-36 physical role limitations and social functioning were significantly poorer in the progressive MS group. In both cohorts, a significant association was observed between symptoms and all three SF-36 subscales. MS course was significantly associated with variances in the hierarchical models: in progressive MS, adjusted R2 scores ranged from 0.17 to 0.30 compared with 0.35 to 0.45 in non-progressive MS.

In their conclusion, the researchers recommended, “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.”