Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects people in many different ways. People with MS need lifelong care. Physicians at Penn State Health use the latest treatments to give each patient the best care possible. We partner with Penn State Health researchers to give our patients access to all proven treatments for this condition.
- Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Groups, Classes & Support
- Research & Clinical Trials
- Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
Comprehensive, Lifelong Care from a Committed Team
If you’re living with multiple sclerosis, the right care can make a world of difference. MS is a lifelong disease, and you want a team that’s going to be there for you long-term, with all the services and support you and your family need. Turn to Penn State Health — with the most comprehensive MS team in central Pennsylvania. We’re currently caring for 3,000 people across the state with MS, and we can care for you.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, damaging myelin, the fatty substance that covers nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Damage to myelin can slow or block nerve signals, interfering with communication between the brain and other parts of the body. This can result in a wide variety of symptoms and physical disability ranging from mild to quite severe.
More than Medicine
You want the most advanced and promising treatments and medications available for MS, and we’ve got them. Our team is on the leading edge of progress against MS and is active in groundbreaking research as well as outstanding patient care. Our specialists serve as advisors to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and are educators as well as clinicians.
But effectively managing MS so you can live your best life takes more than medicine. It takes long-term health care relationships to help you eat right, stay active, stop using tobacco and make any necessary lifestyle changes. That’s why our team is fully dedicated to MS care and includes:
- Physicians who specialize in treating MS
- A nurse practitioner and licensed practical nurse to help care for you
- A social worker to ensure you have the support you need here, at home and in the community
- A nurse navigator to help with care management including:
- Education and answering questions about treatment options
- Scheduling and coordinating appointments, including urgent appointments
- Insurance issues and getting approval for different kinds of care
- Applying for job protection through the Family and Medical Leave Act
We also provide easy access to all the Penn State Health services you might need, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Physical rehabilitation
- Pain management
- Neuro ophthalmology
Caring for Caregivers
A diagnosis of MS affects the whole family, so we work with family and caregivers to help them understand your condition and treatment. We can link you and your family with services and resources in the community and beyond, to ensure you have the support and help you need when you need it.
Meet Your MS Team
If you’re living with MS, we’re in your corner. Our team is fully committed to MS care and helping you live as fully as possible.
- Elaine Matangos
- Ashley Kundravi
Licensed Practical Nurse
- Sonya Diggs
- Shannon Orehek
Research & Clinical Trials
Access to Clinical Trials
Because we are part of a university health center with an active research program, we can provide access to promising new treatments through clinical trials if you might benefit. We also train specialists and researchers who serve across the state and nation, and we’re constantly working to improve care for MS worldwide through basic and clinical research.
Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook
Symptoms of MS vary from person to person. They may include:
- Weakness in motor skills and loss of muscle coordination
- Tingling, numbness, dizziness
- Blurred vision
- Heat sensitivity
- Loss of bladder control
- Memory loss, problem solving difficulties
- Mood disturbances
- Spasticity or tremor
- Sexual dysfunction
What are some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
Causes & Risk Factors
How do you get multiple sclerosis?
Outlook & Prognosis
Outlook for people with multiple sclerosis
About 70 percent of people with MS have a type called relapsing-remitting, in which symptoms get worse during periodic flare-ups. Between flare-ups symptoms get better or disappear. In about half of these cases, MS becomes progressively worse after about 10 years.
Far fewer people, between 10 and 15 percent, have a type of MS called chronic progressive. This type becomes steadily worse with no remissions.
People with MS are at higher risk than the general population for:
- Developing bone loss from inactivity
- Steroid use
- Vitamin D deficiency
About 15 to 20 percent of people with MS have relatively mild symptoms. Most people with this condition live for 30 or more years after their diagnosis. Many continue to work and be active, although bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction are common.