Multiple Sclerosis – MidMichigan Health

Posted: September 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The exact cause of MS is unknown, and at this time there is no cure. Many advances in research and treatments are giving hope to people who are affected by the disease.

TheNational Multiple Sclerosis Societyestimates that more than 400,000 people in North America are living with MS. In Michigan, more than 15,000 people are diagnosed with the disease. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but the unpredictable physical and emotional effects last a lifetime.

The progression and specific symptoms of MS in an individual cannot be predicted. They vary depending on the extent and severity of the disease and the location of lesions within the brain and spinal cord. Some of the most common symptoms are:

While the progression, severity and specific symptoms of MS vary by patient,MS is divided into four distinct classifications.

If your doctor suspects you have multiple sclerosis, he or she may refer you toMidMichigan's MS Clinic, which is affiliated with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Because there is no known cause for MS, it is often difficult to diagnosis. Several tests are necessary for confirmation, including:

Because there is no known cause and as yet no cure, a multidisciplinary approach is the most beneficial in preventing progression of MS. This approach consists of medications, exercise, stress management, relaxation, adequate nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle. Again, MidMichigan's MS Clinic is available to help with many of these services.

Many medications can help manage the symptoms of MS. Your neurologist will choose the right medication for you based on the results of diagnostic testing and clinical examination. Treatments may include:

It is important to become familiar with your symptoms in order to recognize flare-ups and seek appropriate and timely intervention.

AVONEX is a registered trademark of Biogen

BETASERON is a registered trademark of Berlex Laboratories, Inc.

COPAXONE is a registered trademark of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd.

REBIF is a registered trademark of Serono S. A.

EXTAVIA is a registered trademark of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation

TYSABRI is a registered trademark of Elan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. & Biogen Idec

GILENYA is a registered trademark of Novartis AG

NOVANTRONE is a registered trademark of Immunex Corp.

If you have MS, your doctor may recommendrehabilitation therapy in addition to other treatment options. Rehabilitation therapy can help you and your caregiver better adapt to the changing realities of the disease and help you maintain as much independence as possible.

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Multiple Sclerosis - MidMichigan Health

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