For my article this week I decided to choose a topic that I do not know much about. I thought this was a good way to not only widen my readers awareness but also my own. After considering some of the important upcoming events for this March I decided to write about Multiple Sclerosis. It is Multiple Sclerosis Education Month. This is a month to acknowledge the amazing progress scientists and charities have made to help support sufferers of MS and to highlight where MS sufferers still need more support.
So, what exactly is MS and what are the causes?
Multiple sclerosis is a condition which effects the brain and/or spinal cord. It is known as an autoimmune condition which means something goes wrong with the immune system and it mistakenly attacks a completely healthy part of the body. I suffer from psoriasis which is also an autoimmune condition where the immune system is overactive. So, I can ever so slightly relate to having an immune system that just will not chill!
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for MS but a number of treatments are available to help control the condition. Symptoms for MS can differ widely from one case to another and can affect any part of the body. Common symptoms can include difficulty walking, vision issues, problems with processing thoughts, balance and co-ordination problems, bladder control difficulties, muscle spasms and many more.
Most sufferers are diagnosed between the ages of 20 – 30 and its estimated that there are over 100,000 people diagnosed with MS in the UK. It is almost 3 times more common in women than men and is a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability.
I think it is so important to understand that if you meet someone or know someone with MS their symptoms can massively vary from day to day. There are 3 different types of MS. Some suffer from relapsing remitting MS which means they have periods of relapse where their symptoms kick in and gradually worsen. Then they have periods of remission where they feel themselves again. These remission periods can sometimes last years at a time. Other MS sufferers have primary progressive MS where from the moment they first notice their symptoms they just continually worsen without any periods of remission. Finally, there is secondary progressive MS. This is when people with relapsing remitting MS gradually develop primary progressive MS, stop having periods of remission and instead begin to develop worsened symptoms.
I had a look into some famous faces suffering with MS and one story I found really moving was from YouTube star Nic Haste. Here is the link to how she deals with life as an MS sufferer.
I hope after reading this article if you meet anyone or know anyone with MS you will be sympathetic and understanding when they are struggling with their symptoms. MS can make you tired, confused, frustrated and sometimes it may be hard to understand someone’s irritated state when you do not have an understanding of the disease. The MS community desperately need help raising money for more research into how to cure this life changing illness.