Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a complex disease and anyone who has been diagnosed or has a family member or friend with the condition will want to have a better insight into how it will affect them. Understanding any medical condition is always the first step forward in accepting the diagnosis. The next step is learning how to manage the condition and where to go to find support and information.
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK alone. Multiple Sclerosis is the Latin name meaning ‘multiple scars’, which are otherwise known as plaques or lesions. MS affects almost 3 times more women than men and it is normally diagnosed between the ages of 20 – 40 years, although it can affect younger and older people too.
MS is a condition of the central nervous system, causing damage to the nerve fibres which can cause a range of symptoms. In MS, the immune system which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes the myelin, which is the coating around the nerve fibres, for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages the nerve fibres leaving the scars known as plaques or lesions.
This damage can disrupt messages along the nerve fibres and the resulting symptoms will depend upon which part of the central nervous system is affected.
MS is complex and symptoms vary and may affect vision, balance, bladder, bowel, speech and memory. It can also cause tingling, numbness, dizziness, fatigue, stiffness spasms and mood swings.
There are four different types of MS, each type affect the sufferer in a unique way:
-Relapsing-remitting MS which is the most common form where sufferers experience
a period of active symptoms, followed by periods that are symptom free.
-Secondary Progressive MS: Relapsing-remitting MS often develops into Secondary Progressive MS 10 – 15 years after initial diagnosis. Once diagnosed with secondary-progressive MS, people will notice a change in the pattern of their disease. While some acute attacks and periods of remission may still occur, they happen less frequently, recovery is less complete, and symptoms become chronic, gradually worsening over time
-Primary Progressive MS: The more serious form of the disease which gradually worsens over time.
-Progressive-relapsing MS: The least common type of MS which like Primary Progressive MS is characterised by a gradual worsening over time but sufferers with this type of MS will also experience active attacks and remissions.
Although as yet there is no cure for MS, medication can help to control the disease. Many people with MS find it useful to actively manage their heath with exercise, diet, meditation, managing their levels of stress and complimentary and alternative therapies.
Charities, information and advice:
MS Society: http://www.mssociety.org.uk/
MS UK: http://www.ms-uk.org/
The How What and Why of Multiple Sclerosis: https://multiplesclerosislifeinsurance.com/how-what-why-multiple-sclerosis/
Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8321292-overcoming-multiple-sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis – The Essential Guide: http://www.mssociety.org.uk/ms-support/publications-and-library/book-and-dvd-reviews/ms-the-essential-guide
Yoga and Multiple Sclerosis: A journey to health and healing http://www.amazon.co.uk/Yoga-Multiple-Sclerosis-Journey-Healing/dp/1932603174/ref=sr_1_12?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404827252&sr=1-12&keywords=multiple+sclerosis
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