Spring is in the air, but we can’t embrace April’s showers or May’s flowers without providing some “Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Education” — which the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) has attributed to the month of March. So this week, Griswold’s blog posts are dedicated to providing you with the information you need to truly understand this disease and make your loved one’s life as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. We always like to start with a little intro — before you can cope with something, you have to understand it.
MS: The Basics — Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Basically, the body’s immune system eats away at the protective sheath — a fatty substance called “myelin” — that coats the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms range from mild numbness in the limbs to more severe and irreversible paralysis, loss of vision and/or inability to speak.
MS: The Mystery — The cause of MS is unknown, and research has only been able to provide the belief that it’s an autoimmune disease. Many factors of MS, like progress, severity and specific symptoms, are unpredictable — varying from person to person according to which nerves are damaged and the amount of damage that has occurred.
MS: The Risk — The factors that may increase the risk for MS include:
- Being between the ages of 20 and 40
- Being female
- Having a family history of MS
- Being exposed to certain viruses, like the Epstein-Barr virus
- Being Caucasian, especially with family origins in northern Europe
- Living in locations with temperate climates
- Having other autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease
MS: The Hope — Currently, there is no cure for MS, but new treatments and advances in research — as well as groups and societies — are providing hope. For example, the Multiple Sclerosis Emerging Therapies Collaborative is “committed to developing and disseminating timely, evidence-based resources” to keep MS research a top priority in the medical community. When it comes to MS, comfort and security are crucial — you want to make this individual feel safe and welcome in your home. That’s why our next blog post will be all about making your home safe for someone with MS. Subscribe or stay tuned! Do you or a loved one have MS and have any tips you’d like to share? If so, please do in the comments below!