Actress Christina Applegate Faces Health Crisis

Read Time: 4:25
Published: Aug 11th, 2021
Actress Christina Applegate Faces Health Crisis
Article Updated:August 16th, 2021

Emmy-winning actress Christina Applegate, known for shows like "Married with Children," and "Dead to Me," shocked her fans with an announcement on Twitter about her health.

A tweet from Christina Applegate.

"A few months ago, I was diagnosed with MS," Applegate tweeted. This is a diagnosis that many people hear.  Worldwide, more than 2.3 million people have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, over one million in the United States, according to the National MS Society.

In Canada, nearly 100,000 people are being treated for MS. The prevalence of MS in Canada is among the highest reported in the world. Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that around 130,000 people are living with MS in the United Kingdom. More than 700,000 people have multiple sclerosis in Europe.

These numbers don't count the many millions affected by this condition through their role as caregivers and family members. MS is one of many reasons people require long-term health care services during their lifetime.

MS More Common Than Many Think

"A few months ago, I was diagnosed with MS," Applegate tweeted. This is a diagnosis that many people hear. Worldwide, more than 2.3 million people have a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, over one million in the United States, according to the National MS Society. 

In Canada, nearly 100,000 people are being treated for MS. The prevalence of MS in Canada is among the highest reported in the world. Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that around 130,000 people are living with MS in the United Kingdom. More than 700,000 people have multiple sclerosis in Europe.

These numbers don't count the many millions affected by this condition through their role as caregivers and family members. MS is one of many reasons people require long-term health care services during their lifetime. 

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, people experience their first MS symptoms between the ages of 15 and 50. The average age is 34. 

Four Types of MS

There are four types of MS; however, Applegate has not announced which type she has been diagnosed with. The most common form of MS is Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)

RRMS is defined by clearly identifiable attacks lasting days or weeks, with periods between stable relapses and absence of disease progression. However, following an attack, many people experience a full recovery, but some will experience residual loss in mental or physical function upon recovery. 

There are Primary and Secondary-Progressive forms. Over time, the disease is consistently progressive and includes more frequent relapses with minor remission. The loss of physical and mental function occurs without recovery between attacks.

Physical therapy and medications that suppress the immune system can help with symptoms and slow disease progression. There is no cure for MS. There are treatments available. They focus on speeding recovery from attacks, slowing the progression of the disease. Chemotherapy, anti-inflammatory medications, immunosuppressive drugs, and steroids are used to help treat symptoms. 

Long-Term Care Often Needed Not Covered By Health Insurance

Many people believe that their health insurance or Medicarewill pay for the long-term care many people with MS will need for in-home caregivers, assisted living facilities, or even nursing homes in extreme cases. The fact is - they won't. Only Medicaid and Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for the care many people with MS will require as the disease progresses. 

Medicaid, however, requires a person to have little or no income and assets. Long-Term Care Insurance must be purchased when you are fairly healthy; otherwise, it will either be too expensive or unavailable at all.

A tweet from People: "Selma Blair Send Message to Christina Applegate After MS Diagnosis: 'I'm always here'"

Actress Selma Blair, best known for her film 'Brown's Requiem,' reached out to Applegate on Twitter. Blair said she is 'always here' for Christina Applegate after MS diagnosis. Since Blair revealed her multiple sclerosis diagnosis in October 2018.

Applegate's Strange Journey

Applegate says it has been a "strange journey" so far. She has faced other health problems. In 2008 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. On her NetFlix TV series, "Dead to Me," the character also had breast cancer.

"Dead to Me" is in its third season. Producers have temporarily halted production after Applegate shared her multiple sclerosis diagnosis on Monday. Officials at Netflix and CBS Studios released a joint statement (August 10, 2021), announcing they will give the actress "time and space."

People with MS often need help with daily activities. Sometimes, because of cognitive decline, they also require supervision. If in-home care or assisted living is no longer viable for care, they will move to a nursing home as their health declines substantially.

Family Often Become Caregivers

Unless a person has Long-Term Care Insurance, many family members will attempt to provide the care needed by a person suffering from MS. However, the role of caregiver is very demanding. 

Paid care services are available for in-home care. Adult day care centers and assisted living facilities are usually able to provide the necessary services for someone with MS. 

Care costs can vary widely depending on where you live. In the Los Angeles area, in-home care can run as much as $57,000 a year; a nursing home, the most expensive, will average $125,000 a year California Long-Term Care | LTC News.

Planning needs to happen when a person is younger and healthier. Most people who purchase Long-Term Care Insurance are in their 50s. Experts suggest starting research in your 40s or 50s when your health is usually good. 

About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

Editor's Note

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Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan

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LTC News Contributor James Kelly
James Kelly

Contributor Since
August 21st, 2017

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

About the Author

LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

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