I am sure most of you know that I have Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was diagnosed when I was 15 or 16. I know that many people don’t know anything about MS so I am going to write a little bit about it in order to help raise awareness to the disease and to open peoples eyes to what this disease is.
- Multiple Sclerosis is what they call an autoimmune disease. This means that the persons immune system for some reason decides it is going to attack some part of the body instead of only attacking viruses and things like that. In MS the immune system decides it is going to attack the nerves of the CNS (central nervous system). The CNS includes the brain and spinal cord. They are not sure what triggers the immune system to think that part of the body is a invader and needs to be attacked.
- MS symptoms happen when the immune system attacks the myelin around the nerves. If you think of your nerves like a wire the myelin would be the protective covering around the wire. If the nerve underneath the myelin gets hurt that is what causes the symptoms and some times causes permanent disabilities.
- The body tries to repair the damage that is done but it is never the same. Once the nerve is damaged it won’t ever function the same again.
- There are a lot of different symptoms that go along with this disease. I am going to list some of the most common ones: Fatigue, problems with walking, numbness, tingling, slurred speech, tremors, stiffness, problems with vision, cognition, speech, and elimination. Every person with MS has different symptoms. Which makes some people wonder if everyone that has MS actually has the same disease or if it isn’t a few different diseases that just get grouped in with MS.
- Anyone can get MS. Women are more likely to get it than men and so are people with a lighter pigmentation to there skin. So Montel Williams who has MS is a real rarity.
- They think MS has a genetic link but they aren’t sure what it is. In my case there is no one in my family history of it.
- You usually get diagnosed between the ages of 20-50. I was a rarity and was diagnosed at age 15 or 16. Although younger patients are now getting diagnosed because doctors are starting to look for it at a younger ages. I have noticed though that I have had lots of activity show up on scans but I haven’t had many flare ups that people could see. In fact if I didn’t tell you I had MS and what symptoms I do have you can’t tell I have it all.
- MS is rarely fatal. Most of the time people with MS with get a common cold of the flu and that is what will end up taking their lives.
- There are several treatments out there that each do things differently. I am on one called Tysabri and it is the most expensive and most dangerous of the drugs. All of the current MS treatments are expensive and it makes it hard for people who don’t have insurance or even with insurance to afford.
- It has been shown that treating the disease helps to stop the progression of the disease but since all the treatments are so expensive there are many people who simply can’t afford to treat the disease.
- There is always new treatments in the works and exciting things happening in research that hold so much hope for future generations. They came out last year with the first pill you can take once a day for treatment. Up until the pill came out all the treatments were either shots or an infusion.
- There is currently no cure for MS.
I think I covered most of the major parts of the disease but if you have questions or want any more information please let a comment and I will answer your questions!