Statistics show that almost one million Americans have been diagnosed and are living with Multiple Sclerosis, a chronic and debilitating autoimmune disease. Most of the patients that are diagnosed are between the ages of 20 to 40, however, it can affect anyone at any age. This disease affects the central nervous system by damaging the body’s Myelin Sheath, which is simply described as the protective layer that covers the nerves. Due to this breakdown, the brain loses its ability to control the electric signals that control how a person may walk, talk, think, breathe, swallow, as well as many other crippling effects that occur from MS.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, there are four different types of Multiple Sclerosis, which are as follows:
1. Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS) – often argued as not a true form of Multiple Sclerosis, CIS, or Clinically Isolated Syndrome, has the exact same symptoms as MS, except that it happens as a one time thing. This makes some claim that it is not a true form of MS, but according to the NMSS, those that have been diagnosed with CIS are considered “high risk for developing MS” later on in life.
2. Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) – RRMS is the most common of all forms of MS, ‘affecting 85%-90% of people with condition at onset.’ This form of MS deals more with MS symptoms developing and getting worse for a number of weeks and at times, even months, known as “flare-ups.” But then they end up going into a form of “remission” where the symptoms completely go away, or at least have partial improvement for quite some time.
3. Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) – PPMS is associated with just 10% of patients suffering from MS. This is when the disease starts off at a much slower pace, but continuously progresses and worsens from the start of diagnosis.
4. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) – For patients that have been diagnosed with SPMS, this is when their diagnosis begins with RRMS then eventually becomes SPMS. So basically they have the diagnosis and symptoms of those that are diagnosed, after which their symptoms go away. But around 50% of these particular patients end up developing SPMS within a decade from their first RRMS diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there is still no conclusive cause as to why MS occurs, nor has an actual cure for the disease been discovered. And what makes it even harder is that there isn’t one, nor a particular test to diagnose MS. Rather, the actual diagnosis, which is called a differential diagnosis, is done by ‘ruling out other conditions that might produce similar signs and symptoms.’
But if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, here are a variety of treatments and preventions that you can use to deal with the effects and conditions accompanied with having MS.