Being told a diagnosis of MS, brings with it many questions, concerns, fears, and expectations. Becoming educated and knowledgeable about MS is something that not only is important but also necessary so that you will be aware of current news, research, and treatment options available to you.
Once you have learned of your diagnosis, many patients go through a grieving process. There are five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It is important to note that not every person begins at denial and ends with acceptance. The order of each stage varies from person to person, and most encounter jumping from one stage back to another. An important note to remember is to not feel guilty when experiencing any of these emotions because each are normal to coming to terms with your situation.
- What is MS
- MS is a neurological disease that is unpredictable. Typically, people between the ages of 20 and 40 are diagnosed. Symptoms of MS can include blurred and double vision, weakness, pain, spasticity, tremors, vertigo and incoordination, slurred speech, cognitive difficulties, and fatigue. For a complete listing, visit MS Central’s Symptom Outline.
- Does paralysis always occur with MS?
- Most people with MS do not become severely disabled. Two-thirds remain ambulatory, with some persons requiring the aid of an assistive device.
- What are the statistics of persons living with MS?
- In the U.S., approximately a third of a million people are diagnosed.
- Who gets MS?
- More women than men are diagnosed with MS, and it is more common among Caucasians. Although MS is not directly inherited, there is a pre-disposition for MS among family members.
- What causes MS symptoms?
- When inflammation and breakdown of myelin occurs, symptoms present themselves. In MS, myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of tissue. This is referred to as lesions or plaques.
- Is MS fatal?
- MS is not a fatal illness and life expectancy is normal.
- Is MS contagious?
- MS is not contagious.
- Are there medications and treatments available?
- Injectible treatments are available to help delay progression of disability as well as reduce the annual exacerbation rate. There are also other medications available to help ease many of the symptoms that are experienced. To learn about treatment options, speak with your physician.
- What are the types of MS?
- Relapsing Remitting MS, Secondary Progressive MS, Primary Progressive MS, and Progressive Relapsing. For full definitions, visit MS Information
While the course of MS is unpredictable, keeping and maintaining a positive outlook and having a strong support system in place is critical.