Sunday, March 25, 2012

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Many students don’t think about Multiple Sclerosis when they are attending college. Many see themselves as invincible others see their vulnerabilities. But the truth of the matter is that MS can hit at any age but is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. It affects women more often than men.

MS is when the sheath covering the nerve is damaged. This can cause signals to slow down or stop. This damage is caused by inflammation which is when the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system. This can occur anywhere along the nervous system. From the brain to the spinal cord right down to the nerve endings themselves.

MS can affect anyone but those most commonly affected are people who live further from the equator. Those who live north of the 37th parallel get less sunlight than those who live south of this line. This line is along the North Carolina northern border that goes straight across the U.S.

A study done on a patient by Dr. David Brownstein showed that increasing a patients Vitamin D3 intake, a patient was able to reduce her dependence on a wheelchair, her pain from the symptoms of MS were greatly decreased and she was able to go back to work full time.

Episodes of MS attacks can last for hours, days, weeks or even months. The severity of these attacks can vary as long as the attacks vary. These attacks can alternate with periods of no symptoms.

Things like fever, stress and hot baths can trigger symptoms. Even when a person has no symptoms, their disease can continue to get worse.

Since MS attacks the nervous symptoms, it affects different parts of the body differently. The way MS attacks the muscular system is loss of balance, loss of coordination, tremors in the legs, numbness/tingling in the legs, problems with walking.

The excretatory system is affected with urine and stool leakage. The eyes are affected with double vision, loss of vision and rapid eye movements.

The brain and nervous system is affected with decreased attention span, depression, problems with dizziness and balance, problems with reasoning and solving problems, problems with memory loss and judgement. There is hearing loss associated with MS as well.

Since MS can look like other nervous system disease, these by can be ruled out by tests that are ordered by your doctor. Your doctor may suspect MS if you have two separate areas of your nervous system that are affected at the same time. This may included reflexes that are abnormal, loss of sensation in more than one part of your body or your ability to move one part of your body is decreased.

In your eyes, your vision field is decreased, the pupils have abnormal reflexes, you have a problem with the inside part of your eye or when your eye moves it triggers rapid eye movements.

Some other tests that are used to diagnose MS are a spinal tap and an MRI.

There no known cures for MS at this time. There are treatments to slow the progression of the disease and to relive the symptoms. These include certain drugs, physical therapy, good exercise and a healthy diet.

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