Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Increasing awareness and compassion

Unless your life is directly affected by MS there is naturally a great deal you don't know about this illness. Photo: Don DeBold

CHICAGO, February 27, 2013 - None of us can know everything. Still, it’s amazing to discover how little detail the person staring back from the bathroom mirror might know about something in the realm of common knowledge. This is not owed to a lack of motivation or compassion, but we naturally comprehend the most about what happens around us or directly affects us.  

Multiple sclerosis, for instance, is an illness that comes in more varieties and stages than many people realize. Yet, the anxiety, fears, sadness, grief, and courage people experience while dealing with this illness are common to all of us, allowing everyone a certain amount of understanding. 

Variations of MS 

About 85% of people with MS are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. As the name suggests, people experience a flare-up of symptoms followed by periods of remission (are symptom free). Over time, the symptomatic episodes can worsen.  

Within ten years, around one half of those with relapsing-remitting MS will develop more aggressive symptoms or secondary-progressive MS. Although the symptoms become severer, there may still be times of partial remission. 

Primary-progressive MS involves an immediate slow and steady progression of symptoms, and there are no periods of remission. However, some people experience periodic symptom plateaus or temporarily notice minor symptom improvement. Approximately 10% of those diagnosed have primary-progressive MS. 

The rarest type of MS is called progressive-relapsing, and it affects about 5% of people diagnosed. The MS is progressive from the outset and although there might be periods of symptom remission, the illness worsens even while the symptoms are dormant. The rate of progression varies in individuals. 

MS Symptoms 

Any of the courses or variations of MS can be mild, moderate, or severe, and may include some or all the following symptoms:

Eyes: blurring or double vision, complete or partial loss of central vision usually in one eye, and pain experienced during eye movement.

Body/Limb Sensations: numbness or weakness, an electric-shock feeling that occurs during head movement, pain or tingling in parts of the body.

Movement: tremor, reduced coordination, an unsteady gait, dizziness.

Other: fatigue, slurred speech, heat sensitivity. 

Heat sensitivity is an MS symptom this author had no clue about until now. The symptoms of MS are the result of an eating away of the brain’s nerve fiber insulation (myelin). The unprotected nerves suffer damage as well. When an individual has MS, even a one quarter to one half degree rise in core body temperature can worsen their symptoms. The added heat further impedes the already compromised nerves’ ability to carry a signal.

To learn more about the symptoms, stages, causes, and treatment for multiple sclerosis, discover a wealth of helpful nformation at Healthline.com.   


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Jacqueline Marshall

Jacqueline Marshall is a writer for Help For Depression, and freelances primarily in the areas of psychology and personal development. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and is a licensed therapist living near Chicago.

Jacqueline has experience helping those diagnosed with severe, persistent mental illness, and in providing general therapy services for individuals, couples, and families. Prior to counseling, she worked in graphic design and music education.

When not writing or counseling, Jacqueline enjoys reading literature and math-less books about quantum physics. She is a published poet, and has studied animal communication and energy healing.  

 

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