This Is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week
March 2-8 is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Week. There are many activities around the country planned to raise awareness of the disease. This includes more than 600 Walks and more than 100 Bike Rides.
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. It is often disabling. MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own defense system attacks myelin (the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers). The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. The nerve fibers may also be damaged. This damage then distorts or interrupts the nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord, producing the variety of symptoms. MS is not contagious, nor is it directly inherited.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs. They may also be severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another.
Multiple Sclerosis is different from muscular dystrophy (MD), which is a group of disorders that cause progressive and irreversible wasting away of muscle tissue. Although MD has some symptoms in common with MS - such as weakness and problems with walking - MD affects the muscles directly while MS affects the central nervous system.
There are now FDA-approved medications that have been shown to reduce the number of relapses and "modify" or slow down the underlying course of MS.
To locate a walk in your area, check here.
To locate a bike ride in your area, check here.