On Wednesday, you may have noticed people wearing orange more than normal. Well, it was World MS Day, and it’s to help spread the awareness of multiple sclerosis. The last Wednesday of every May is World MS Day and is meant to raise awareness about this common neurological disorder.
About 400,000 people in the US and over 2 million worldwide have multiple sclerosis.
Dr. Clark Milton, the Medical Director of Corporate Health at Wheeling Hospital, tells 7news, “multiple sclerosis is one of the most common neurological disorders in fact it is the most common cause of disability in young people. It’s a disorder of the brain, the spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.”
Which is your central nervous system. The nerve fibers have a coating around it called the myelin sheath. MS is when that myelin sheath is damaged or deteriorated. “Symptoms vary in people, but most commonly involved are eye changes, sudden blurry vision, numbness, tingling in extremities, then the development of difficulty with balance coordination and walking, causes fatigue and can also cause memory changes,” said Milton.
MS is also when someone has reoccurring episodes of those symptoms called relapsing and remission. There is no cure, and the cause of it is unknown. Advances in technology and medicine have helped understand MS and how to treat it.
“20 years ago, there was no treatment. There still is no cure, but there are more than a dozen available treatments these days. They range from corticosteroids, plasmapheresis, cell treatments, and now Monoclonal antibodies. At a recent American Academy Neurology meeting, there’s very good hope and new studies showing promising therapies.”
The theme for this year’s World MS day is Life with MS, not only for the patients but also for friends and family members. “It’s very unpredictable, and symptoms can vary from one person to the next. So not only the patients have to understand that, but so do the family members and other supporting folks. Once they are educated and have knowledge about the disease, they all do much better. And now there’s many new treatments available, then the outcomes are improving. So there’s hope with MS.”
If you want to help aid the fight against MS, you can donate to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation or National MS Society.