March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
Do you know what country music star Clay Walker, R&B singer Tamia, former talk show host Montel Williams, political figure Ann Romney, and the late Mousekeeter/America's sweetheart Annette Funicello have in common? Each of these individuals were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, an estimated 2.3 million people are diagnosed with MS worldwide. MS is an unpredictable and chronic disease that impacts the Central Nervous System (CNS) by disrupting the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The etiology of MS is unknown; however, scientists believe that several different factors may be involved including the immune system and genetic predisposition.
There are four different types of MS:
- Relapsing Remitting MS (RRMS) – About 85% of individuals diagnosed with MS have this type. RRMS is characterized by clearly defined attacks (also called flare-ups, relapses, or exacerbations) of worsening neurological function followed by partial or complete recovery of the symptoms.
- Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) – For most people initially diagnosed with RRMS, SPMS is the next stage of the disease. During this stage of MS the disease tends to progress more steadily with or without relapses.
- Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) – Approximately 10% of individuals diagnosed with MS will have PPMS. People with PPMS will likely experience steadily worsening neurological functioning from the initial onset of the disease.
- Progressive Relapsing MS (PRMS) – This is least common form of MS. It is characterized by steadily progressing of the disease from the beginning with occasional exacerbations along the way. The form of the disease continues to progress without remission.
MS is most commonly diagnosed when an individual is between 20 and 50 years old. However, in rare cases, MS has been diagnosed in toddlers and adults over 70. In addition, women are two to three times more likely to develop the disease. While each person with MS experiences the effects of the disease differently, commonly reported symptoms include loss of balance, poor coordination, tremors, blurred vision, extreme fatigue, numbness, paralysis, vision loss, and problems with memory and concentration.
MS is a complicated and often times misunderstood diagnosis. Finding support from a community of people in like situations can be life altering for people living with MS and their caregivers. Below is a list of resources we encourage you to check-out and share:
MS Connection – www.MSconnection.org
MS World – www.MSworld.org
Band Against MS – www.bandagainstms.org
We also recommend everyone reading this post to connect with our global network to link up with clinicians, caregivers, end users, suppliers, and manufacturers all over the world.
Do you know of a fantastic resource we should share with our readers? Please post a comment below or send us an email. We would love to add it to our list.
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3/15/2015 12:00:00 AM
Filed under: Angie, Education, MultipleSclerosis, Resources