For the last week of MS awareness month me and Dizzy have decided to make a little post and video about MS. One of the things I find most difficult with MS is trying to explain to people what exactly it is. People mostly think MS=wheelchairs and that’s about it, so we’re going to hopefully try and explain it abit better! 🙂
You can either read through our post (which is hopefully not too wafflely!) and contains more information on points, watch our little video on the basics (at the bottom of the page) or both! 🙂
So what is MS?
MS is a neurological, autoimmune condition of the central nervous system.
MS is an autoimmune condition because the immune system gets abit confused and no longer recognised part of the central nervous system (CNS), the myelin, as self. Myelin is a substance that protects the nerve fibres so that messages are able to travel from the CNS to other parts of the body, telling them what to do. As the immune system no longer recognises the myelin as self it see’s it as a threat and attacks it. The damage caused by this then affects the messages travelling smoothly to the part of the body they need to get too. This can mean the messages either not getting through as quickly, becoming distorted or not managing to get through at all!
Or as Dizzy explains with her metaphor for how MS works: She is trying to visit her donkey friends but having to go through a little tunnel to get to them. Now this tunnel isn’t the sturdiest and when it’s abit stormy some of it falls off! This makes it more difficult for Dizzy to get through. It can take her longer and by the time she’s navigated her way through she has sometimes forgotten part of what she is going to say to her donkey friends. In the mean time parts of the tunnel get repaired but it still has cracks left from the previous windy patches. Overtime the tunnel gets less stable and more cracks appear, eventually meaning parts of the tunnel can collapse and Dizzy is unable to get through at all and just has to either find another way round or potter back home.
What are the symptoms of MS?
The symptoms can affect nearly every part of the body as the CNS is involved in most things that our bodies do. Everyone experiences MS differently but most common symptoms can include:
- Vision problems
- Loss of co-ordination and balance
- Walking difficulties
- Numbness and tingling (bit like feeling of pins and needles)
- Brain fog
- Spasms and stiffness
Are there different types of MS?
Yes! There are four different types of MS:
Relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) : This is the type I have and the one that most people (85%) will be initially diagnosed with. It means you have attacks of new symptoms or worsening of symptoms for longer than 24 hours. These are known as relapses. You then experience periods of remission where the symptoms can level out, improve or even disappear all together! Every relapse is different and no one can predict what symptoms you will have or how much recovery will take place afterwards.
Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) : Most people with RRMS will go on to develop this form of MS. Instead of clear periods of relapse and remission, there is a steady progression and build up of disability. Some people will still experience relapses.
Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) : This type of MS is similar to SPMS but is the type people have from the beginning of the condition. Primary symptoms are progressive instead of relapsing and remitting. About 10%-15% of people will be initially diagnosed with this type.
Benign MS : There are very little symptoms and with little or no disability at all over long periods of time.
These are the four categories of MS. It’s important to remember though that everyone is different! Whichever type you have doesn’t indicate how the condition will develop or how quickly. This is one of the most scary things about MS because it is so unpredictable, but at the same time one of the most hopeful. It means just because you have MS doesn’t automatically mean you will end up severely disabled or that it will have a big impact on your life.
What causes MS?
No one knows exactly what causes MS. They believe it is a number of factors that can contribute to people developing the condition.
Who gets MS?
Anyone can get MS but most people are diagnosed between 20 and 40. It also affects more woman than men.
Is there a cure for MS?
Not yet. There are many disease modifying drugs for relapsing remitting MS available to help reduce the rate of relapses. It also looks like one for PPMS might be available in the near future. Constant research is always being carried out.
I hope you found this information helpful and enjoyed our little video! 🙂 xxx
If you would like some more information we recommend visiting:
Dizzy would also like to say Thank You to Sid for his help with our little video. 🙂