Augusta Multiple Sclerosis Center Patient and Family Education
Facts about MS:
What is MS?
MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. Nerve cells in the CNS are linked by fibers called axons, which are used to send signals of information between the nerve cells. These axons are protected by myelin that allows for information to pass quickly along the axon. In MS, white blood cells attack and damage the myelin.
However, many people living with MS lead fairly normal lives. No two cases are alike and for those affected with some level of disability, this level varies greatly.
Who Gets MS?
- Multiple Sclerosis affects 400,000 people in North America and 8,000 people are diagnosed each year in Georgia alone.
- Diagnosis usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 40
- There are 2 or 3 times more women than men with MS
- In the U.S., MS is more frequent in Caucasians
Common Symptoms of MS
As mentioned, the process of myelin deterioration is not the same in any two people with MS. It varies greatly on the extent of damage, how quickly and when it occurs. Therefore, not everyone with MS will have the same symptoms. The prevalent symptoms are:
- Spasticity (stiff or rigid muscles with exaggerated, deep tendon reflexes)
- Problems with vision
- Tingling or numbness with sense of touch
- Bladder or bowel issues
- Sexual problems
- Mood changes and forgetfulness
There are ways to deal with these and any other symptoms. Exercise can be helpful for not only your general well being but to help manage your symptoms from MS. Discuss with your physician or contact the Center for an appointment to discuss therapies and exercise that is best for you.
Resources to Help You
Taking an active role in managing your MS is the best way to help yourself and those that love you understand MS and help you control its affects.
Ways to Help You Manage Your MS
- Contact your local support groups. Call the Center for more information.
- Attend local educational seminars:
- MS Morsels for Thought: For people with MS and their families.
- Visit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Website
- Search for other MS Websites. Many websites offer a support system by providing newsletters, teleconferences, videos, and candid conversations about lifestyle issues and more.