The Latest Developments in Multiple Sclerosis
MS, is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. It
generally occurs in episodes, or flare-ups, that eventually lead to disability.
The level and type of disability varies greatly from person to person. MS can
affect the legs, arms, bladder, sexual function, memory and awareness. It can
cause depression and extreme exhaustion.
It’s also very
unpredictable. Some people have long periods of time between episodes. Some
people have episodes that are debilitating, while others are simply a little
weak and off balance. For some people, MS varies from day to day. Some people
describe it by saying that when you wake up in the morning, you never know which
body you’re going to be in that day.
Early symptoms of MS
MS is often called a
disease of young adults. The average age at diagnosis is 32.
Symptoms are different
for everybody, but some of the more common ones include:
- Weakness or numbness in an arm or leg
- Stumbling more than usual
- Vision problems
- Pain in the extremities
If you notice any
symptoms, tell your doctor. A neurologist is the type of specialist you would
see to find out whether your symptoms indicate that you have MS.
Even 10 years ago,
there was very little that could be done to treat MS. Today, there are six
primary MS medications. They’re given by injection, either under the skin or
into the muscle or a vein. You and your doctor choose medications depending on
your preference, what you can tolerate and how severe your disease is.
What helps people
deal with MS?
There’s no indication
that any of the following factors will change the course of your MS, but they
can help you to handle what comes your way and to continue to experience life in
a positive way, instead of in a way that focuses only on your disability.
This is easy to say, of course, but it’s true. As a rule, a positive attitude
helps people adjust to any chronic condition. Instead of believing that MS is
the worst thing in the world, for example, a more positive way to view it is
that MS still allows you to live your life, spend time with your loved ones,
and, for many people, it allows you to continue to work and be productive.
There’s no particular diet that’s “good for” MS beyond a typical healthy food
plan with fruits, vegetables, protein, etc.
with MS can use exercise bikes, do yoga, walk, do floor exercises, etc. It’s
important to keep your body active.
MS: a disease you
The good thing about
MS is that it rarely causes death. Many many people learn to get used to their
symptoms and to taking medications. It’s difficult to find out you have MS, but
with the help of your doctor, your loved ones and, if you’re interested, an MS
support group, there’s no reason why MS should stop you from having a
meaningful, productive, even joyful life.
If you have MS and you
are having difficulty paying for your medication, visit
HelpingPatients.org. This organization can help you to
find out whether there are any programs that would enable to you to qualify for
assistance. Their phone number is 1-800-762-4636.
The National Multiple
Sclerosis Foundation; The Montel Williams Foundation; HelpingPatients.org.