World Multiple Sclerosis Day is held around the world on May 30th. It is celebrated as an effort to raise awareness of MS and its unseen impact on the quality of life. Observing this day also gives a voice to anybody who has been affected by MS and to share, and understand this disease. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disabling disease of the brain and the spinal cord (central nervous system).
The signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people suffering from severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms at all. There’s no sure shot cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, change the course of the disease and manage the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms may differ from person to person along with the location of the nerve fibers that have been affected. MS symptoms often affect movement, such as:
- Numbness or extreme weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of the body at a time.
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially when bending the neck forward.
- Tremors, lack of coordination or an unsteady gait.
- Vision problems including partial or complete loss of vision, often in pain during eye movement.
- Double vision for a prolonged period of time.
- Blurry vision
- Slurry speech
- Tingling or random pain in parts of the body
- Problems with bladder and bowel functions
See a doctor if you’ve experienced any of the above symptoms for unknown reasons. Since the causes are unknown, it is considered an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. It is still unclear why MS develops in some people and not others. However, a combination of genetics and environmental factors appears to be responsible.
This World MS Day, organizations from around the world have risen up to the challenge of shining a spotlight on the invisible impact of Multiple Sclerosis. Let us all come together and spread awareness about Multiple Sclerosis in how ever little way we can.
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