Multiple sclerosis (MS) awareness week is March 8 to March 14, 2020. MS is a progressive, immune-mediated disorder. That means the system designed to keep your body healthy mistakenly attacks parts of your body that are vital to everyday function. The protective coverings of nerve cells are damaged, which leads to diminished function in the brain and spinal cord. It effects everybody differently and there are several different types.
The symptoms can be unpredictable. Some may experience fatigue and numbness, severe cases of MS can causes paralysis, vision loss, and diminished brain function. Common early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) include:
- vision problems
- tingling and numbness
- pains and spasms
- weakness or fatigue
- balance problems or dizziness
- bladder issues
- sexual dysfunction
- cognitive problems
Not everyone with MS will have the same symptoms. Different symptoms can manifest during relapses or attacks. Along with the symptoms mentioned on the previous slides, MS can also cause:
MS often progresses slowly over many years (about 25 years). It is most commonly diagnosed in females ages 20 to 40 but may occur at any age and both genders. Usually, MS in children and teens (pediatric) goes undiagnosed; however, medical professionals have diagnosed about 8,000 to 10,000 children and teens in the United States with the disease.
Is MS heredity?
MS isn’t necessarily hereditary. However, you have a higher chance of developing the disease if you have a close relative with MS, according to the National MS Society.
The general population only has 0.1 percent chance of developing MS. But the number jumps to 2.5 to 5 percent if you have a sibling or parent with MS.
Heredity isn’t the only factor in determining MS. An identical twin only has a 25 percent chance of developing MS if their twin has the disease. While genetics is certainly a risk factor, it’s not the only one.
You can help ensure that more people understand what life with MS can be like and engage more people to do something about it, by following our media channels and sharing the stories of those living with MS, who move life forward every day and don’t let MS define them.
“Multiple sclerosis may be a part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you as a person. You are who you are, and MS can’t take that away from you.” – Clarissa, diagnosed in 2006
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Together we will do whatever it takes to change the world for people with MS.