Multiple Sclerosis & Optimism

Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism
Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism

Great Strides Make Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism Possible

Medical science has developed almost-miracle medicines for multiple sclerosis (MS). That’s why we use the phrase, multiple sclerosis and optimism. Since the mid 1990s many, many medicines have been discovered, developed, and launched that successfully slow MS progression. (Before 1990 MS was usually a slow decline to disability and an early death, except for a few lucky ones.) However, treating a waxing and waning, appearing and disappearing medical condition remains a clinical challenge. It’s not easy and takes conscientious care and cooperation of the doctor, the treatment team, and the person with MS. If you have been diagnosed with MS, you need to find a trained, skilled, and experienced MS doctor. There are many types of MS, many choices of medicine, and almost monthly the world’s medical journals give updates on better treatments. The right doctor and team will give you the best hope for a long, healthy, happy life.

What Is MS?

MS is a medical disorder caused by one, or another, or many damaged nerves. Nerves are the electrical connections of every place in the body. What symptoms appears depends on which nerve is damaged. This means that the symptoms can be almost anything.

Changing Signs and Symptoms – Now It’s Broken, Now It’s Fixed

MS is a frustrating. It’s so hard to predict. Symptoms can be almost anything and they come and go. And, no one ever wants a surprise problem symptom. Before the condition is diagnosed the person can feel that they’re living in some devil’s mean world. It’s better once the diagnosis is made because at least then the person knows what’s happening. Before the diagnosis he/she can’t understand why suddenly one leg that won’t work right. Or why she has nerve tingles that won’t go away. Then, after a while, it’s all back to normal. But gradually, as time goes by, everything does not always go back to normal. New symptoms hang on. Life gets harder.

Here Are Examples of a Few MS Symptoms

Here are a few examples of symptoms that people with MS might have. Maybe a bit of trouble walking. Maybe tired all the time, fatigued, or can’t think clearly, and it comes and goes. Or, odd bladder problems or bowels that aren’t working right. Unable to see clearly, eyesight is off, not right. There could be a muscle that refuses to work. As we mentioned above, nerve tingles somewhere that won’t go away. I could be that the person seems to go dead regarding sex. Pain is possible. A new pain somewhere. A person who’s always been cheerful might start having a real down mood. As you can tell, the list goes on. An early diagnosis is important. It means that treatment can start right away, which helps keep a good life quality.

MS is Called the Great Medical Imitator

Because there are so many different possible starting symptoms, before about 20 years ago it was really difficult to diagnoses MS early. Doctors called MS as “the great imitator” because it could look like so many other illnesses. Back then it was not until MS became more long term and severe, and the individual became disabled, that the diagnosis became clear.

What Causes MS – Your Body Fighting Itself

MS is caused by one part of your body attacking another part of yourself. Namely, your body’s immune system attacks your nervous system. In fact, MS is the most common illness where the immune system attacks the nervous system. As we said above, all the nerves running here and there are the electrical connections all over your body. This includes connections inside your brain, from one area of your brain to other brain areas. And it’s random which nerve gets attacked. There is a repair process to fix damaged nerves, by as time goes by, the repairs can’t keep up with the damage. When too many nerves are broken, the person becomes disabled.

MS Hits A Person During Her/His Best Years

MS mostly hits young to middle age adults. Right when their personal lives are great and their work and careers are productive. Wives and husbands are in the midst of starting their families. Men and women are starting to gain ground and stature at work. These are people age 20 to 50. It’s about 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men. And, as we said above, it’s a common disorder. It’s the most common nerve-based disability for these ages.

Treatment for MS – Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism

While it is true that MS can be treated, it’s not easy. It requires work, thinking, and planning. We’re all waiting for a real cure, a complete cure, but there isn’t one yet. People are trying hard to find one. The medicines we have now work, but we need better. See our article on MS treatment to learn more (

Does Anything Help in Addition to Medicines? Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism

In a word, yes. Physical therapy is a great help, and exercise based on what is learned in physical therapy. It’s really important to keep moving, exercise frequently and regularly. One needs to work to build new muscle, to fight against losing muscle, and to stay strong. The whole treatment plan will be aimed at keeping and improving all that you can do. You have to keep moving and keep thinking.

What About “Alternative Medicine”? Are there Alternative Medicines That Work?

We need to say something first. We of the Neuroscience Research and Development Consultancy love new things. New ideas and new medicines are great. It’s what we do. New treatment approaches. We felt the need to explain ourselves first because of what we’re about to say. For MS, walking down the path of “alternative medicine” for MS is a really bad idea. We wish it weren’t true, but alternative medicine for MS is a trap. There are many, many “alternate” treatments promoted for MS and none of them work. We understand that desperate people will try just about anything. But don’t go this direction. Really, none of these work. If you happen to like one that is harmless, that’s fine, go ahead with it. But it won’t treat the MS, so don’t stray from your real medical treatment plan.

Types of MS

As we said above, there are many different types of MS. MS can appear in a person’s life in several different ways. And MS can move forward, get worse, get better, going different directions. These different patterns of starting and moving forward can be divided into 4 main types.

Here’s a 1st Type of MS – RRMS

This is the most common type of MS. It’s called relapsing-remitting MS, or RRMS. The symptoms start, get worse, and then get better. The MS then might “stay better” for months or years. But “better” does not always mean well. Sometimes there are symptoms that hang around, little changes that don’t get all the way better. Over several years, or maybe many years, these small bits of “not all the way better” can add up to a real disability.

A 2nd MS Type – PPMS

This type of MS, primary progressive MS, or PPMS, happens in about 1 out of every 10 people who get MS. Unfortunately, once the symptoms start they never go away. Unlike RRMS that might go away, PPMS starts and never stops.

MS – A 3rd Type – SPMS

All those people who start with the 1st type above, RRMS, at some point get to this bigger 3rd type problem called secondary progressive MS, or SPMS. Those small left over symptoms from the RRMS add up over time to become a bigger set of symptoms. Often big enough to cause disability. At times there can be small, brief lessening of symptoms but overall the disease course is downhill.

Finally, A 4th Type – CIS

After the two troubling type 2 and 4 above, PPMS and SPMS, this 4th type is a relief. It’s called Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS). With CIS one gets symptoms of MS for a day or more then they go away. The symptoms might never come back. But it’s also possible that the symptoms might return. If the symptoms come back it’s no longer CIS, it has become RRMS. Most of the time a doctor in a well-equipped medical center can have brain imaging done. Brain imaging will probably be able to predict who with CIS will have another attack and who will not.

So What Eventually Happens with MS? Multiple Sclerosis and Optimism

What eventually happens with MS depends. That’s why getting a diagnosis of MS as early as possible is so important. If MS is found early and the person works hard with a skilled and experienced doctor and the whole treatment team, modern medicine can help most people live a full lifespan. If, when the diagnosis is finally made, the person has had MS for a long time she/he might have to live with more symptoms long term. This same unfortunate situation can occur if the individual does not or cannot work hard to stay with the treatment plan.

Helpful links:

NIH National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke on Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus on Multiple Sclerosis

National Multiple Sclerosis Society answering the question: What is MS?

The Mayo Clinic on Multiple Sclerosis

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