16 Facts You Should Know About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)



In an inspiring interview with Robin Roberts on ABC’s Good Morning America, American actress Selma Blair courageously talked about her battle with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

In October 2018, the 46 year-old actress announced her battle to fans via Instagram, saying “I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least and I am relieved to at least know and share”.

Asked what went through her mind when she was first diagnosed, Blair said: “I cried. They weren’t tears of panic. It was tears of knowing I now had to give in to a body that had loss of control, and there was some relief in that”.

The actress also said in the interview that she is now experiencing spasmodic dysphonia, a condition in which the muscles of the voice box experience involuntary movements, affecting her speech.

According to National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS).  The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.

Here are 20 facts about MS that you should know:

1. There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.

2. The disease is not contagious or directly inherited.

3. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibres and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.

4. MS can cause many symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness and more.

5. More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide.

6. The cause of MS is not known. Scientists believe MS is triggered by a combination of factors such as immunologic factor, infectious factor, and genetic factor.

7. Environmental factors, such as low Vitamin D and cigarette smoking have also been shown to increase the risk of MS.

8. MS is not a “reportable” disease, which means that the government does not require physicians to inform any central database when they make the diagnosis. Without this kind of centralised reporting system, there is no easy way to count people with MS.

9. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although MS can occur in young children and significantly older adults.

10. MS is at least two to three times more common in women than in men, suggesting that hormones may also play a significant role in determining susceptibility to MS. And some recent studies have suggested that the female to male ratio may be as high as three or four to one.

11. There are approximately 1000 MS sufferers in Malaysia.  However, only about 400 to 500 are diagnosed suffering from this disease.

12. One of the key problems is because of the poor public awareness of this disease makes them not want to come forward for treatment.

13. MS has increased 3.23 per 100,000 with females predominantly being affected and all races at risk of the disease according to statistic in 2016.

14. In 2016, Asian and Oceanian Association of Neurology served as a platform for the launch the Malaysian Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPG) on the Management of Multiple Sclerosis, which is also the first CPG on MS in South-east Asian Region.

15. The evidence-based CPG has been developed by multidisciplinary team from Health Ministry, Higher Educational Ministry, the Malaysian Society of Neurosciences and the private healthcare sector.

16. The guidelines provide recommendation on the diagnosis of MS, its diagnosis tools, and treatment options currently available in the country.

Sources:

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Malaysia

Healthline






HealthEdge


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KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Imagine how you would feel if you wake up one morning in the house you have lived with your family for about 30 years and you are not able to recognise your surroundings. You look at the mirror and ask yourself, “Who am I, where am I?”

This is one of many symptoms indicating that you may have dementia, a debilitating disease that takes away the ability to retain memory, think clearly, behave normally and perform everyday activities.

Dementia is an increasingly common disease affecting ageing populations in especially low- and middle-income countries where access to social protection, services, support and care is limited. 

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