Monday, June 22, 2009

MS 101

My fellow Ambassadors and I were given a kind of an informational boot camp in MS. Believe me, just when you think you have heard/read it all...

I never feel the need to not listen. I always learn something; even if it is another view on something I'd learned. The most important thing to know about MS is that its affects are different with each patient. The most common "same" symptom, fatigue, is even different from one to an other. The symptoms you have are based on where you have your troubles in the nervous system. If you are walking now, the diagnosis does not mean you will be in a wheelchair soon. If you have eye issues it does not mean the issue will not remit. Stay positive and work with your professional, and the MS Foundation and MS Society to learn all you can about staying as good as you can. They have pamphlets, chat room, and hundreds of resources for answers.

In this last group conference we talked about the different types of MS, and the many medicines we know have to help slow the progression. There is no cure. But everyone in high standings medically agrees, "Start an MS medicine as soon as you are diagnosed." Some even start patients while awaiting a confirmation (to be on the safe side). These are the Rebifs, Copaxones, Beta Seron and Avonex for example.

Did you know there are four, and a debated fifth, type of Multiple Sclerosis? The most common is Relapsing Remitting. This is when the various symptoms come and go and you can take symptom medicines to assist with many. You must discuss each symptom with your neurologist to determine if it is "normal" of MS related then work out a medical or physical plan to help you.

Then there is Secondary Progressive. Here the symptoms flare up more frequently and can be more severe - but again, there are medicines to help ease the effects.

Third is Primary progressive. This is much harder to function with and thankfully affects only about 10% of MS patients.

The fourth is Progressive Relapsing, a serious version that is low in numbers; 5% of patients.

The debating fifth is called Benign. This is when symptoms related to MS come on and then disappear for years. It is considered a "retrospective diagnosis."

More to come