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Multiple Sclerosis Facts That You Need to Know

By Daryl H. Bryant (604 words)
Posted in Living with MS on March 4, 2015

There are (6) comments permalink

Multiple Sclerosis Facts That You Need to Know

This week marks 2015’s Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, which means this is your opportunity to learn more about the disease, discover new treatment methods, and uncover new opportunities to get involved with MS in your community.

Although nearly 2 million people are living with MS today, the cause and cure for the disease are still unknown. Whether you are diagnosed with the disease or know someone who is, these facts will keep you in the know and help you gain a better understanding about Multiple Sclerosis.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the central nervous system. The myelin that protects the nerves within the brain and the spinal cord are slowly eaten away by the disease. This leads to the inflammation in the brain that is responsible for causing the various physical and mental symptoms that disrupt day-to-day life.

The way these symptoms manifest is influenced the type of MS the patient has. Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) is marked by a consistent progression of worsening symptoms, but those diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) experience their symptoms randomly, usually brought on by a trigger like temperature changes or fatigue. While there is no cure of MS presently, many treatment programs are in place to slow the progression of the disease and help patients manage their symptoms.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

The cause for MS is still unknown. There are environmental as well as genetic factors that influence the onset of disease in most patients, but the odds of contracting MS are so low that it makes a specific cause hard to pinpoint. Patients with existing auto-immune conditions are more susceptible to the disease, as are those with MS in their family tree.

There are a few viral infections that directly attack the myelin and nerves in the central nervous system that can trigger the development of MS, and simply being born and raised in the northern hemisphere can increase your chances of being diagnosed. Ongoing research is considering all of these factors as they continue to work toward a cure.

What are Common Symptoms of MS?

The symptoms of MS are unique in the fact that they affect each patient differently and can be experienced at many different times. Numbness is a common symptom that many patients experience first. It will usually manifest in the limbs as a tingling or dull sensation that makes physical movement difficult.

For those with RRMS, this symptom will come and go, lasting for a few hours or a few days. However, for those with PPMS, this symptom will worsen as time goes on and can lead to an inability to walk. Other common symptoms include fatigue, which patients often describe as a “fog,” and cognitive difficulties with memory, attention, and visual-spatial awareness.

How Can I Help My Loved One?

If you have a friend or family member suffering from MS, help them cope with their MS. One of the best things you can do is learn as much as you can about MS, especially their particular symptoms. Taking advantage of the resources provided during MS Awareness Week can help you better understand what your loved one is going through, giving you the opportunity to offer valuable advice and support.

Use your knowledge to find local MS programs and events which you and your friend can attend together, and make sure you keep them active and engaged in social activities. Isolation and depression are common among those suffering from MS, and your offer of company and entertainment can work wonders for them.

What will you do during MS Awareness Week?

Share in the comments below!

Comments (6)

Eric J Dallman posted on: March 5, 2015

Diagnosed with relapsing MS last June. Since December I have been having such chronic pain in my legs and joints it makes life hard to live. Sleeping at times is impossible as pain is so intense. My doctors did have a pretty good job and plan on managing my pain but now not so much. Tired of being judged by others for the ways I have had to deal with it. Any ideas or thoughts from others would be appreciated'

Jennifer posted on: March 6, 2015

RRMS since 2/27/11 lost sight in my left eye never to return I have pain so bad and my dr I don't think believes me I don't sleep and it makes it very hard to function day to day. I'm calling my primary dr today im not bothering with this Neurologist anymore he isn't listening to me

deb parrish posted on: April 11, 2015

if you are a Born-Again, Bible-believing Christian, I know of a number of cases where such folks found their symptoms disappeared. My e-mail is

Amanda posted on: April 14, 2015

I have had ms half my life and I will be 35 this week. I've read some posts that make me saddened by the lack of help from their doctors. If you doctor isn't helping then you should find another one. I go to the ms clinic in Boston and they are wonderful. Since the start of my treatment rituxam 5 years ago I have been symptom free. Before this medicine, I had tried all the others and continued to relapse. My symptoms varried from blindness, numbness, loss of coordination, spinal vibrations, and more. Keep fighting and never give up. There are amazing doctors out there to help you and listen to you.

Wendy posted on: April 15, 2015

I was diagnosed with MS in 2006. When I first heard what the doctor said I had my mouth dropped to the floor. He then told me that I wouldn't have another episode for 20 years. We'll that was a big fat lie. I have never gone into remission.
I did find its important to find a good MS specialist. The 1st doctor I saw treated all the patients the same. All my lesions are down my sline, optic nerves and hips. He did not believe there was anything that could be done with The MS being in the spine. I found myself a new doctor. Check with your local MS Society. According to my doctor I should not be able to walk. Because I have a great doctor and a wonderful support system I can keep going. Don't get me wrong I have bad days like everyone and my support helps me through it.

Madge Jenner posted on: April 15, 2015

I lost most of my sight two years ago and it was so scary, it just happened over night, i was extremely stressed at the time. Sine then i have been diagnosed with Ms and my legions are in my brain. Fortunately most of my sight has returned but left me shortsighted. I hate feeling the fogginess i get all the time. My doctor is no support and neither is my consultant, they all seem to shrug their shoulders and say get on with it. I just wanted to let others know you are not alone and i guess we just have to keep surviving. Life is a bitch at times.

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