Published on November 18th, 2019
Last updated on June 6th, 2020
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a very mysterious and debilitating disease that impacts the central nervous system. In MS, the body’s immune system attacks the protective tissue, which covers nerve fibers and leads to a litany of communication problems between your brain and body.
The major signs and symptoms of MS can vary greatly depending on which nerves are damaged, how long the damage has occurred, and how bad it is. While there is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis, treatment has been shown to enhance the quality of life significantly and even improve the long-term prognosis.
The most common symptoms of MS affect movement, including weakness or stiffness in one or more extremities. Also known as spasticity, this stiffness can often only affect one side of the body at a time. Another common symptom is painful electric-like shocks that occur during neck movements, along with a general lack of coordination.
Vision problems are also quite common in cases of MS, including partial or complete vision loss, double vision, or blurry vision. Other symptoms may include dizziness, sexual dysfunction, slurred speech, or fatigue.
Most people who live with MS have what is known as a relapsing-remitting disease course. This means patients generally experience new or continued symptoms that develop quickly and only last a few days or weeks at a time. Luckily, these periods of relapse are followed by periods of remission, which can sometimes last years.
However, others are not as lucky, and their MS can develop into secondary-progressive, or primary-progressive MS, which means periods of remission can become significantly reduced, or it can even become chronic.
The most significant risk factors for MS are things that you don’t have any control over, such as age, sex, and genetics. However, factors, as varied as infections, climate, vitamin D levels, and even smoking, can increase your risk of developing MS.
Multiple sclerosis affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide, making it a relatively uncommon condition. However, new reports have found nearly half a million people in the US alone are dealing with MS, nearly twice as many as previously believed.
Given the growing prevalence in America, it’s all the more important to find new and effective ways to help people mitigate their MS symptoms. If you believe you or a loved one may be living with multiple sclerosis, talk to a doctor as soon as possible. Only they can provide the most accurate and pertinent information for each case.