Friday, March 15, 2013

Quick points on MS

Here are some quick facts or frequently asked questions that I put together for my family when I told them. Growing up, I had never really heard of MS, so I assumed my family wasn't really knowledgeable either. Some of this may be too basic, but I thought I would share anyways

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? MS is a chronic and highly unpredictable disease affects the central nervous system (CNS) which is made up of the brain and spinal column. MS interferes with the brains ability to send and receive information to the rest of the body.

How does MS affect the CNS? The nerves in your body conduct electrical impulses like the electrical cord that plugs in a lamp. The nerves in your body are covered with a sheath called myelin that protects the nerves helps conduct the electrical impulses like the plastic coating and insulation around an electrical cord protects the electrical cord and aids in the conduction of electricity. In the body’s of people with MS, it is believed that the immune systems attacks the myelin covering of the nerves hindering their ability to conduct the impulses that the brain uses to send information. It would be similar to removing the plastic coating and insulation from an electrical cord in a lamp. The result would be a flickering light, or depending on the damage, a light that doesn’t work at all.

What causes MS? No one really knows for sure. The theory is that it a mix between being genetically predisposed and being subjected to a viral or bacterial attack.
Is there a cure for MS? Unfortunately there is not a cure for MS. However there are several FDA approved medications that can slow down the progression of the disease. 
Is MS is fatal? People with MS have a normal life expectancy.
Will you get better? If I continue to take my medications, and they continue to work, I should be close to 100%. While there is not cure, the medications are fair advanced at preventing the further progression of the disease, so I might not have any further disability for quite some time.
Are all people with MS in a wheelchair? While some people end up in a wheelchair, most remain able to walk, some with the aid of a cane or walker. This all depends on the type of MS that a personal has, and the progression of the disease.
Is MS is contagious? MS is not contagious. It can NOT be spread through casual or intimate contact. 
Who gets MS? 
  • About 400,000 people in the Unites States have MS
  • Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50
  • The disease is 2-3 times more prevalent in woman than men
  • MS is also more common in people of northern European descent
  • MS is also more prevalent the further from the equator you go which may indicate that sunlight and vitamin D help prevent MS

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