Understanding Multiple Sclerosis. Perspective
It is terrifying to hear that we, or someone we love, has been afflicted with a serious disease. The wisest thing we can do at this point is to learn all we can about the disease. Initially this knowledge might further increase out fear and discomfort, but eventually it will set us free to accept the disease and take an active part in its treatment and management.
One of the most difficult aspects of Multiple Sclerosis is the pattern of relapse and remission. Our hopes are raised and our hopes are dashed. This takes a toll on both the sufferer and the whole family. But if you understand the potential for relapse, you understand too that a remission could soon follow. Knowledge is power if we use it to our advantage.
Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease of the nervous system. The body's own immune system literally eats away at the the protective myelin sheaths surrounding the nerve fibers. As a consequence, the nerves may deteriorate. The damage is non-reversible. During this process, communication between the brain and the rest of the body is disrupted. That is why victims of Multiple Sclerosis have difficulty with speech and locomotion.
Multiple Sclerosis is twice as common among females as males. It occurs usually between the ages of twenty and forty. If you have a member in your direct family with the disease, you have an increased chance of becoming its victim.
The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is not yet known. It has been thought to be linked to the Epstein-Bar virus. There does seem to be a definite genetic link and possible links to other childhood ailments. There is no present cure for Multiple Sclerosis, but there is constant research being done and eventually both the cause, and a cure, will be found.
The possible symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are many. They vary from person to person, as does the severity of the disease. They may include blurred vision, dizziness, fatigue. tingling and tremor, numbness or weakness usually along one side of the body, and unsteadiness when walking.
There is no specific test to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis but there are many other tests which will indicate it as they eliminate other possible conditions that would explain your symptoms. These include blood tests, spinal taps, MRIs and others.
Once a patient is diagnosed, treatment will begin. There are a variety of drugs to deal with Multiple Sclerosis, to alleviate symptoms and slow the process of the disease. You physician will prescribe what best suits your condition and will explain their use, benefits and possible side affects.
A Physical Therapist can assist with balance and movements and an Occupational Therapist may help with adapting physical surroundings. Use any and all resources available and suggested to help deal with your Multiple Sclerosis.
Because of the nature and symptoms of the disease, depression is a distinct possibility. Enlist the help and support of family and friends. A smiling face and an arm to lean on can make a real difference in an otherwise dreary day.