The Facts About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis, often referred to simply as MS, is a disease of the nervous system in which the protective myelin coating that protects individual nerve cells breaks down. As a result, the nerves develop scar tissue that prevent them from functioning as they normally would. A wide spectrum of symptoms is possible with MS, each with varying severity.
Due to the overarching nature of the disease, the list of potential symptoms is quite extensive. The most common include:
- Loss of Balance
- Problems with Vision
- Slurred Speech
These are fairly generic symptoms and don’t necessarily point to MS as the sole diagnosis, but the appearance of any of these should be reported to a doctor right away. Because the symptoms of MS can come and go, it can be difficult to diagnose.
A Chronic Condition
MS is considered a chronic condition, because no cure can yet offer permanent relief from the disease. However, the condition is not fatal. As many as 2 million people have MS through out the world, and many of them lead relatively normal lives. Medication and certain changes to their daily routine allow many who suffer from MS to control the disease.
Remissions and Relapses
The nature of MS is such that remissions are common, and relapses are just as common. There may be long periods of time when no symptoms are present, and then several severe symptoms may present at once. Symptom flare-ups can be controlled with medicine, but those symptoms could easily return at any moment.
Progression and Cognition
It can be difficult to directly see the symptoms of MS, which is why the disease is often called an ‘invisible disability’. Its progression can occur right under the watchful eye of even those close to the person experiencing the illness. Even when in remission, the disease is still causing harm. Much of that harm is done directly to vital nerves within the brain, which can lead to cognition problems. Memory failure, loss of critical thinking, and a diminished vocabulary can all result from the progression of the disease.
Dealing with MS
If you are experiencing MS, there are things you can do to help prevent symptoms from occurring as often as they might. Avoid areas with hotter temperatures, as heat can exacerbate or even trigger symptoms. Keep yourself cooled down as often as possible. Supplementing your diet with vitamin D has also been shown to combat the symptoms of MS. Most importantly, keeping a positive attitude and learning as much as you can about the condition will make managing the disease much more achievable.