What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple Sclerosis or (MS) is a chronic disease that can potentially affect a patient’s brain, spinal cord and optic nerves in the eyes. This disease is still being studied and has proven quite difficult to diagnosis. Symptoms for patients can vary from sever to very mild, some requiring treatment, some not. This disease can also steadily progress or be remittent, where symptoms flare up and then improve over time. According to the National MS Society over 2.2 million people world-wide are diagnosed with the disease (National MS Society, 2019). To give an idea of the amount of people this disease affects, this number is four times the population of Wyoming.
Signs and Symptoms of MS
Symptoms of MS can vary based on the patient and the severity level of the disease. Symptoms include numbness and tingling, fatigue, blurred vision, double vision, weakness, poor coordination, imbalance, pain, depression and problems with memory. More severe symptoms include paralysis, tremors and blindness. These symptoms can cause the patient to become disabled and greatly affects their quality of life. This drastic effect on quality of life can bring on severe depression and other mental health issues.
MS is not currently able to be cured. However, the disease is treatable. The national MS Society states that “There are now FDA-approved medications that have been shown to “modify” the course of MS by limiting new areas of damage in the CNS, reducing the number of relapses and delaying progression of disability. In addition, many therapeutic and technological advances are helping with more effective symptom management. Advances in treating and understanding MS are made every year, hopefully moving research closer to identifying a cure” (National MS Society, 2019). Hopefully, in the future, enough research in a cure will be conducted and eradicate this disease.
Direct effect on our Life.
My wonderful wife was diagnosed with MS about 14 years ago, when she was in her twenties. She will have to deal with this disease and the ramifications on her life for the fifty plus years. She has handled the disease as gracefully that I could ever ask for. I firsthand have seen the severe symptoms of this disease and seen how it directly affects the quality of life for her. I’ve been beside her when she stopped being able to walk. I watched as doctors attempted to get a reflex, but she couldn’t feel a thing. I’ve driven her because she couldn’t see out of one eye. I have pushed her in a wheelchair and lifted her into bed. She has remittent MS, so her symptoms come and go. We have good months and bad months. Someone with this disease needs to be supported and cared for when the symptoms arise. While having MS doesn’t take a lot of life expectancy off the patient, only seven years on average. The major issue is the quality of life. Every person in this world, should be able to enjoy their lives. Let’s support our partners, friends and family through their very difficult, life altering disease.
However, with this disease and everything it brings with it…I wouldn’t trade my wife for anyone in the world. To have someone in my life that has been dealt a bad hand, yet is the most caring, empathetic and sympathetic person I have ever met. She worries about being a burden on me. She isn’t a burden. She is a blessing!
Author: Bradley Armentrout
Date: 27 September 2019
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 2019. Multiple Sclerosis FAQs. Retrieved from: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/MS-FAQ-s#question-What-are-the-typical-symptoms-of-MS
Click the link below to donate to the National MS Society