Things to Know about Multiple Sclerosis for MS World Day
For MS World Day, we are helping spread the word about what life is REALLY like for those living with, and caring for people with multiple sclerosis. We've put together a list of facts about MS:
- Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) in which a person's immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin) of the body's nerve fibers, resulting in communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.
- Multiple Sclerosis is not contagious.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is used to assess disease progression and evaluate if your treatment is working well.
- There is a great deal of research around what causes MS, but there is no clear answer into the exact cause of this disease.
- There are 4 types of MS: Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS), Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS), and Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS).
- Pain is a real symptom of MS.
- There is no cure for MS.
- In autoimmune diseases like MS, the immune system launches an attack against our own cells, like it is trained to do to foreign invaders.
- The MS Society defines a relapse as any new or worsening symptom that lasts for more than 24 hours, happens more than 30 days after a previous attack, and that occurs in the absence of another cause such as stress, infection, or an elevation in body temperature.1
- In addition to a relapse, external factors like stress, illness, or temperature changes can cause a sudden worsening of symptoms (or pseudo-exacerbation).
- Bladder and bowel problems are a common symptom of MS.
- Heat can make MS symptoms worse.
- People who have MS may experience emotional problems, such as depression, anxiety, mood swings, and stress.
- Disease-modifying treatments may help reduce the frequency of relapses.
- Fatigue is one of the most common and potentially most disabling symptoms, affecting between 75% and 90% of people who have MS.2
- MS is more prevalent in higher northern and southern latitudes.3
- Spasticity is a stiffness of the limbs resulting from increased muscle tone and is common in people with MS.
- Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve, and is a common symptom of MS.
- Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) surrounds the brain and spinal cord, serving as a cushion for the brain in the skull. CSF analysis can be used to diagnose a number of neurologic diseases, including MS.4
- Cognitive dysfunction, or cog-fog, occurs in many people with MS.
- MS occurs more frequently in women than in men.
- Disease-modifying treatments can be given by injection, infusion, or orally.
- In addition to DMTs, some people use complimentary and alternative medicines to help manage symptoms.
- MS can affect people of any age. However, it’s most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50 years.8
- While research suggests that MS is not directly inherited, genetics may play a role in predisposing or increasing a person’s chances for developing MS.5-7
There is so much more to living with MS than is on this list, but sharing information about MS and the impact that it has on a person's life is critical to the effort in spreading awareness. We can't thank our amazing community enough for sharing this information with others to help spread awareness for this community.
Were you misdiagnosed with something else before receiving a MS diagnosis?