What is multiple sclerosis, or MS? It’s a long-lasting disease that can affect a person’s brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. And while there is not yet a cure, hundreds of thousands of people in the United States are living with it – roughly 400,000 people to be exact, and of that, 86 percent list fatigue as the number one symptom of the disease. The cause of MS is not known; it is not contagious or known to be directly passed down from one family member to another, but factors that may come into play include the following:
- Gender – Women are affected more than twice as often as men
- Age – The majority of people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50
- Geography – Most people with multiple sclerosis live in temperate climates
- Ethnic background – Those with Caucasian origin are at a greater risk
It is thought that multiple sclerosis symptoms result when an immune system attack affects myelin, the protective insulation encompassing nerve fibers of the central nervous system. For individuals with multiple sclerosis, myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of toughened sclerotic tissue. Some underlying nerve fibers are permanently severed, and the damage appears in multiple places within the central nervous system — providing the disease with its name.
While no cure for multiple sclerosis has been discovered yet, several FDA-approved drugs are accessible for the long-term treatment of MS. These meds have been shown to lower the number and severity of MS flare-ups, and possibly postpone progression of the disease. Additionally, numerous therapeutic and technological advances are aiding people in controlling symptoms.
If you live in the Atlanta metro area, contact Regency Home Care to find out how our senior caregivers can help a person with MS to feel enabled, motivated and connected to others. Feel free to call us anytime at 678.999.2446, or review our in-home and respite-care services online.