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Newly Diagnosed With MS? Here Are Some Things to Know

April 26, 2016

2.3 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis. However, very few of them actually educate themselves about the truths and lies about the disease. Here are a few things newly diagnosed MS patients should know right off the bat:

MS is a Lifelong Condition-MS is not terminal or contagious, but it will affect a patient’s central nervous system for life. Family members do have a slightly higher risk of getting it as well.

There are Many Symptoms- Every MS patient is different. The disease will move at a rapid pace for some and some will forget they even have it on some days. Just because another MS patient encounters one of the many symptoms (fatigue, pins & needles, numbness, dizziness, etc.), does not mean that you will or will not.

The Cause is Unknown- The cause is unknown as of now, however there are many theories if you do a little bit of digging. What we do know is it’s an auto-immune disease, where the immune system attacks myelin, the fatty protein that covers nerves in the central nervous system.

There Are 4 Types- RRMS is the most common. These patients experience distinct attacks, or relapses, and then see them partially or completely fade away. Over time they will come back more often. SPMS is a sustained build-up of disability over time. Many RRMS patients will go on to have SPMS. PPMS affects only 8%-10% of MS patients worldwide. This version involves constant symptoms starting off as mild and getting worse over time. PRMS is the least common type of MS, only affecting 5%, and is considered a mix of RRMS and PPMS. The patient will experience relapses, but between relapses the disease and symptoms will continue to get worse.

There Is No Known Cure- While they have not yet found a cure, there are plenty of therapies available to slow down the disease and expedite recovery from relapses. Options include: Intrathecal, injection and oral therapy.

You Can Stay Active - The common misconception is that every MS patient will end up in a wheelchair, when in reality most of them do not. MS patients have run triathlons, so there is no reason why you can’t continue to go to the gym, play tennis, jog or perform your favorite activity. Fitness can be very beneficial to MS patients, as long as they listen to their body and get proper rest.