I never knew what Multiple Sclerosis was.
Over the past year, I have found there are plenty of people who don’t really know much about this disease unless they have a friend or family member who is grappling with it. I’ve also discovered that people really want to know what the heck Multiple Sclerosis is, but don’t feel comfortable straight-up asking.
I knew so little about MS when I got diagnosed. In fact, I am a bit ashamed to admit, I thought it was Scoliosis when they first told me the news and I was sure they had made some terrible mistake.
So let’s talk about MS! What is it? What is happening to me and millions of humans across the planet? Step inside my body for a brief but hopefully enlightening tour.
What is happening: My immune system is drunk. Definitely confused at the least, because it is attacking my brain as if it is a virus. Fortunately, the brain has a super cool shield made of a substance called myelin and it is kind enough to take the brunt of the attacks. Unfortunately, once the myelin gets very thin and scarred, things start to go a bit haywire. Nerve messages are not always transmitted properly and these electrical signals are what that control movement, speech, and other functions. Yikes.
What causes MS: I wish I knew because then I’d be rich and famous and the most popular person around. The cause of MS is still a mystery but researchers have found some signs that point to Vitamin D deficiencies and genetics. Also, smoking increases your chance of getting MS by 150%. Right now, all we know is if you are a white female between the age of 20 and 40 who smokes a lot and doesn’t go out in the sun and has a genetic predisposition to Multiple Sclerosis… well, yeah. You are high risk.
What types of MS exist: There are four common types of MS. 3 of the 4 can be pretty horrible as the disease steadily worsens over time. The first and most common type, Relapsing-Remitting is what I have. Symptoms flare during acute attacks, then improve nearly completely or “remit.” I consider myself extremely lucky.
What are symptoms of MS: Early signs often include problems with vision and vertigo, which is exactly what happened to me. Tremors, muscle spasms and cramping can occur during precise movement in the hands or limbs. But for most of us, there is always a medium to heavy dose of fatigue, dizziness, heat intolerance, numbness, and poor balance. I’m bruise-prone and clumsy and I now know why.
What helps MS: Some of my other posts cover this one, but here’s a refresher. Zero smoking. Decrease stress. Decrease negativity. Run toward mild weather. Increase exercise. All of the above plus intermittent fasting and you should feel a positive difference. I certainly do.
I hope you’ve enjoyed your Multiple Sclerosis tour.
Please feel free to leave a comment in the suggestion box and have a lovely day!