MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)Christy Brown
Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder...
A human body's immune system attacks antigens that eneter the body. The white blood cells will create antibodies in order to break down these foreign particles. In an autoimmune disorder the immune system starts to break down the healthy tissues in the body. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the immune system of the body starts to break down the myelin sheath surrounding neurons. It specifically targets the brain and spinal cord motor neurons and their axons.The axons are no longer able to conduct impulses from the brain and spinal cord because of the damage done to their myelin sheaths.
There are three different form of MS...
  • Relapsing-Remiting MS (RR)
  • Primary-Progressive MS (PP)
  • Secondary-Progressive (SP)
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More Info on the types of MS.
(RR, PP and SP)
Myelin sheaths surrounding axons of motor neurons are broken down
Myelin sheaths surrounding axons of motor neurons are broken down

Cause of the Disease:
The cause of MS has not been pinpointed, however, their have been many theories as to what may cause this disease. It is thought that the disease may be the result of a genetic defect and it has also been noticed that one has a higher chance of developing MS if close family members have also had it.
Some environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and stress, may also play a role in triggering the developement of the disease.
Although it doesnt have enough substantial proof regarding MS, a healthy diet, exercise regime and lifestyle is the key to beating the developement of sicknesses and disease.
Symptoms:
Symptoms of the disease vary as the disease attcks different parts of the central nrevous system. Symptoms come in a wave of attacks after which the body return back to near normal function. However, as the disease progresses, time between attacks decreases and permanent damage becomes worse, eventually resulting in paralysis.

Symptoms Include:
  • fatigue
  • numbness and tingling
  • muscle spasms that may be painful
  • trouble with co-ordinating movements
  • Weakness of limbs
(these symptoms would impair walking and the movement of arms and legs)
  • constipation
  • trouble with urination
  • trouble with eyes and vision
  • depression
  • dizziness

More symptoms...
Treatment and Long Term Prognosis:
There is no cure for MS, however, many of the symptoms can be effectively treated with medication, healthy dieting as well as herbal remedies. It is important to control the progression of the disease and its symptoms in order to ensure the best possible lifestyle and comfort of the sufferer.
Treatments such as physio therapy and occupational therapy are said to be beneficial as well as the aid of wheelchairs, bed lifts etc.
It is also important that patints receive conseling so that they may have the best frame of mind possible in order to live and cope with the disease.
This disease is chronic,meaning that it the sufferer will have to live with the disease for a long time. It is hard to predict how long the patient will live, but is estimated about 20 years. A huge cause in death amongst sufferes is suicide as a result of the severe depression caused by the disease.
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Multiple Sclerosis is most prevelent in women and one has a much higher chance of developing the disease if they have a family history of the disease. Multiple sclerosis is most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40 and it is said that it affects about 2.5 million people worldwide. It appears that MS is more common white people more than black people and seem more prevelent as one moves away from the equator.
In their shoes...
  • Multiple scelrosis does not only affect patients phisically but deeply affects them pschologically as well. After every attack the sufferer's condition worsens. People are no longer able to do the things that they used to be able to do - whether it be playing sport or simply providing for their families.
  • Most people end up paralysed and have to rely on the use of wheelchairs, bed lifts, shower chairs and walkers.
  • Society also treats "disabled" people differently, highlighting the things that may bother them the most by not treating them as equal. They either look down on them or simply try and offer them special treatment. This may seem helpful but just alters their original way of life even more. Sympathy from others also cause people to feel more sorry for themselves and send them into a depression.
  • The disease may result in great depression for many of the above mentioned reasons. This is highly detremental to the well being of the sufferer as it prevents them from remainingf positive and fighting the effects of the disease.
  • Sufferers would have to change their whole way of life as well as their families'. They would longer be able to work and pursue their careers as well as do usual daily activities such as exercising, cooking, showering and using the toilet.
  • It is possible for most sufferers to remain at home, however as the disease progresses it may become harder and harder. One would eventually have to employ a permanent care-giver or move into a caring home.
  • Sufferes could move into single a story home as well as intall ramps over stairs to help them move around in their wheelchairs. Furniture would also have to be further apart to ensure that their is enough space for the wheelchair to move around
  • In South Africa a South African citizen may qualify for a disability grant if they have a disability that will prevent them from working and if they can prove that they truly need financial assistance. You then have to apply for the grant. One would then have to undergo a medical examination.

Multiple Sclerosis South Africa
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