Medically reviewed by Dr. Riaz Ali Shah.
Spinning head, numbed fingers, blurry vision and tripping on your own toes – when these become the norms, how is it possible to live your life positively? Such is the suffering of the people who live with a rare yet debilitating disease, called Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Because of the rarity of the condition, not many people are aware of the disease and the challenges it throws at its victims. So let’s educate ourselves with this unique disease and spread awareness.
ABC of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a progressive, potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system that involves your brain and spinal cord. Women more commonly fall prey to it and it may present as early as 16 to 55 years.
Why does it occur?
The exact cause of MS is not known. It is believed to be an autoimmune condition, in which the person’s own immune system attacks the covering called ‘myelin’ that protects the nerve fibers.
Degeneration of this sheath results in the failure to transfer the information within your brain or from your brain to different parts of your body and vice versa.
Every day is a new fight.
MS affects everyone differently. This debilitating demon leaves the body and mind quite compressed.
However, one thing that all the MS sufferers would relate to is the unpredictability of the disease. You may feel fine one day and hit the rock bottom the very next. It’s a crippling feeling when everything just seems to slip away, even your bladder control. Bone-Crushing fatigue takes over that no amount of sleep can cure. At times, even getting out of the bed becomes a horrendous task. Pins and needles sensation in your body or sometimes just plain numbness can knock you down for days.
MS even messes up with your memory and recall. Your speech may slur and you wake up every day in fear, wondering if you could still walk, talk or see properly.
Can you beat MS?
MS is incurable but not fatal. There is a gradual progression of symptoms with behavioral changes and disability becoming evident on later stages. However, early referral to the doctor will help ease the symptoms and delay the progression of the disease for as long as possible.
Because this condition is remitting and relapsing, treatment usually involves treating the relapses – acute episodes are treated with usually high doses of steroids and disease- mortifying drugs. Aside from medication, physical therapy and a healthy lifestyle also help to a greater extent.
Conclusively, patients with MS should be managed with great care and patience. If a loved one is suffering from the disease, then you should be more supportive and enduring towards them.
For all MS warriors: Although MS is a part of you; do not let it define you! You may not be able to defeat it now, but do not let it chain you down. Fight back harder each time!
Guest Post Credit: Dr. Tooba Irfan