A web-blog (formerly known as Stu's Views and MS News), now published by MS Views and News, a patient advocacy organization. The information on this blog helps to Empower those affected by Multiple Sclerosis globally, with education, information, news and community resources.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Newly Diagnosed With MS? What You Should Do
By Robin Westen August 2013
No one knows exactly how many people have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), but experts think there are currently 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States diagnosed with the disease. This means every week approximately 200 people learn they have it, and studies show that the rate of the disease has been steadily increasing. If you’re diagnosed with MS, here are the first steps to take:
Know the facts: There are lots of myths around MS and sometimes misconceptions can be scarier than the facts. MS is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It’s caused when the immune system attacks the myelin, the protective insulation covering nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of hardened tissue (lesions), and some underlying nerves are damaged. But MS is almost never fatal; many people diagnosed with the disease never need a wheelchair.
Be sure of your diagnosis: Since MS isn’t easy to diagnose, getting a definite diagnosis takes time. Various tests may be used. Besides a neurological exam, you might also have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), evoked potentials (EP), and spinal fluid analysis (spinal tap).
Understand the symptoms: No two people have exactly the same MS symptoms, and you may have different ones from time to time. They can include numbness, blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, extreme fatigue, problems with memory, bladder dysfunction, paralysis, blindness, and more. Over the course of the disease, some MS symptoms will come and go; others may be long lasting.