What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a life-long disease that results from a deficiency in the immune system. While MS does not reduce a person’s life expectancy, it can severely diminish a person’s quality of life.
The immune system in a person’s body with MS actually attacks myelin, which is a fat that surrounds and protects nerve fibers. Since myelin is being attacked daily, the nerves become damaged over time, and the brain cannot send accurate signals throughout the body. This results in a wide array of nervous system malfunctions.
Some of the first symptoms a person with MS will experience include the following:
- Blurred Vision
- Difficulty Going to the Bathroom
- Chronic Fatigue
- Anxiety and/or Depression
- Tingling or Numbness
- Unexplained Aches and Pains
- Unexplained Spasms
- Problems with Balance
- Memory Difficulties
Both the exact cause and treatment of MS are unknown today. A few risk factors for developing MS that most doctors agree upon include smoking, a genetic predisposition, vitamin D deficiency, and having had a viral infection in the past.
There are many tests that a doctor can use to determine if a person has a true case of MS. Some of these tests include:
- MRI screenings
- Blood tests
- Samples of Brain and Spinal Fluid
- Tests of Electrical Activity in the Brain
Currently there are less than 200,000 new cases of MS in the USA each year. People first present their symptoms to the doctor generally between the ages of 20 and 40.
MS can be tricky to diagnose because people often experience the disease in relapses, which means their symptoms tend to get worse and then better over a period of time. Also, MS is experienced on a spectrum from mild to severe, so the treatment of the disease will depend on the particular symptoms of the patient.
Doctors can prescribe certain drugs and steroids to reduce nerve damage as well as help patients overcome relapses quicker. Most doctors also recommend patients stay physical by walking, doing yoga, or stretching every day. It is also important for MS patients to keep their stress under control. Heightened stress levels always lead to worse MS symptoms. One proven way for MS patients to reduce stress naturally is to meditate on their breath every day.