SAN DIEGO, March 4, 2014 — March is the ideal month to spotlight Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating neurological disease affecting approximately 500,000 Americans.
Multiple Sclerosis causes progressive debilitation by affecting the central nervous system of the body and is believed to be an autoimmune disease.
Attacking primarily the myelin sheath which covers the nerves and is designed to insulate and protect them, the nerve fibers themselves are also attacked.
Early onset symptoms indicative of Multiple Sclerosis vary as the central nervous system begins to lose its ability to communicate with other areas in the body, potential symptoms can include:
- Blurred vision
- Double vision
- Blindness in one eye
- Muscle weakness
- Impaired coordination
Affecting mostly Caucasian women, though also affecting men, Multiple Sclerosis is generally diagnosed in persons between the ages of 20 and 50. The exact cause of Multiple Sclerosis is not currently known.
It is suggested by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that factors which may lead to the onset of this disease are among the following:
- Vitamin D levels
- Infectious diseases
The debilitation and challenge of living with Multiple Sclerosis crosses all socio-economic levels. There are many American celebrities who were or are living with Multiple Sclerosis:
- Trevor Baynes, NASCAR driver (diagnosed in 2011)
- Donna Fargo, country singer and songwriter (diagnosed in 2011)
- Annette Funicello, actress (diagnosed in 1992; passed away in 2013)
- Richard Pryor, comedian, actor, and writer (diagnosed in 1991; passed away in 2005)
- Ann Romney, wife of Ex-Presidential candidate and former Governor Mitt Romney, housewife, and equestrian (diagnosed in 1996)
- Tamia, singer and wife of NBA great Grant Hill (diagnosed in 2003)
- Montel Williams, talk show host and decorated war hero (diagnosed in 1998)
Although there is no known cure available for Multiple Sclerosis, there are a variety of drug therapies, alternative treatments, and experimental options available to help slow-down the progression of this disease.
To learn more about available treatment options, resources and services, contact:
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Phone: 1-866-MSFriends ((1-866-673-7436)
In the article 5 Things I Want You to Know About Multiple Sclerosis And Me, published in Huffingtonpost.com, by Cathy Chester describes “what it feels like to live with MS and a disability”:
-Don’t feel sorry for me, but please learn more about MS. It will help to understand why plans made together are frequently cancelled.
-Though it may appear that there’s nothing wrong, my immune system tells a different story.
-Practice compassion and tolerance whenever there is someone with a disability. Activities of daily living are taken for granted by those who are able-bodied.
-Help those with a disability keep their self-esteem intact. Those with a disability may find it difficult to keep up with those who do not have one.
-Be patient. Flare-ups caused by MS may interfere with making plans or attending events.
Show support for those stricken with Multiple Sclerosis by wearing the color orange throughout the month of March, creating public awareness about this debilitating disease affecting hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Contact your local National Multiple Sclerosis Society today (www.nationalmssociety.org) and get involved in your own community by participating in MS walks, bike rides, and other exciting fundraising events throughout the year and help to raise badly needed funds for research, education, support and other services.
“Understanding eliminates fear; Understanding yields compassion.” -VA Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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