Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common neurological disorders that young adults have to deal with. Despite that fact, patients and their families have a hard time discovering all the tiny but important details about accommodating the disease in their lives. Due to the varying symptoms of this disease coupled with the problems in diagnosis, MS has got a number of myths associated with it. So it is a good idea to inform yourself about all the important facts related to MS in real life as well as dispel the myths about the disease.
Facts about MS
- The number of women diagnosed with MS is greater than men.
- The periods of relapse suffered by a patient will almost always be of different lengths and severity. These relapses can be controlled to an extent with the help of medication.
- MS is normally diagnosed after performing a number of tests starting from the neurology physical to the MRI and Lumbar Puncture.
- Multiple Sclerosis is mostly diagnosed in people between the age of 20 and 40, even though; the actual diagnosis may take more time.
- As far as racial facts are concerned, white people are more likely to get MS as compared to other races. But African American people with MS normally have more severe symptoms as compared to white people.
- According to an estimate, 2500,000 people in the world have Multiple Sclerosis.
- The disease is almost never diagnosed in a child below the age of 12 or in a person above the age of 55.
- Interestingly, people living in countries away from the equator are more likely to have the disease than people living closer to the equator.
- The exact cause of Multiple Sclerosis is not known, though it is true that it affects the immune system and the central nervous system of the body directly.
- The four types of MS are benign (mild), relapsing-remitting (moderately mild), secondary-progressive (moderate) and primary-progressive (severe).
- MS is basically caused due to the damage done to the myelin sheath protecting the axons by the blood cells of the immune system.
- Interestingly, the axons may still be able to carry electrical signals between nerve cells by compensating for the myelin sheath but their function is affected nonetheless.
- The MS for each person is unique. Therefore, the number of symptoms they have, the severity of their symptoms and attacks as well as the frequency of the attacks will differ from person to person.
Myths about MS
- The lifespan of any individual with MS is not greatly affected by the disease. You can expect to live as long with your disease as you would otherwise.
- This disease is not contagious nor is it infectious. So you can expect to enjoy the company of your family and friends as much as you like.
- People diagnosed with MS will not necessarily have to use a wheelchair especially if their symptoms don’t require them to. The only people with MS who have to use a wheelchair are the ones with severe symptoms affecting their ability to walk.
- MS cannot be permanently cured by any medicine. But there are medicines available to manage the course of the disease.
- If you have been diagnosed with MS now or in the past, that does not mean you have to give up working especially if your case is not severe. Most people can (and should) continue working if they enjoy their job. This can even help in self-management and keeping fatigue and depression at bay.
- Having MS does not require you to stop exercising or being active physically. In fact, in order to keep fatigue and MS attacks at bay, your muscles should be strong to help you through the day. Therefore, physical activity and exercise, as prescribed by your doctor, can be beneficial for MS patients.
- Many people believe that women with MS cannot or should not have children. That is incorrect. In fact, pregnant women with MS have a lesser risk of having a relapse during pregnancy as compared to other women. Even though, there is minor evidence that MS has something to do with genes, it is not a hereditary disease in the truest sense.