Multiple Sclerosis: Raising Awareness and Searching for a Cure
By John F. Kaiser III | Navarro County Gazette
March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) month, a time to bring awareness to this chronic and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. According to the National MS Society, over 2.3 million people worldwide are affected by MS, and there is currently no known cure.
I was inspired to put this piece together by a good friend, Emily Barlow, who has suffered with MS for over 20 years. She urged me to do something for MS Awareness Month. After witnessing her having to miss her daughter’s big stage debut in Matilda The Musical because of a flare-up that sent her to the hospital then to rehab for weeks on end, I was more than happy to work with her to write this and help bring awareness.
To be honest, I did not know much about the disease before I started putting this article together. Not much other than seeing those suffer who have it. Seeing the day-to-day struggles. Seeing what it looks like when it flares up and gets bad. So please, take the time to read the following information. Take a moment to think of those you know, or even those you don’t, and how you might be able to make a difference.
MS is a complex disease that can manifest in different ways, leading to a range of symptoms and challenges for those affected. There are four main types of MS, including Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS), Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS), and Primary Progressive MS (PPMS).
Relapsing-remitting MS is the most common form, characterized by episodes of new or worsening symptoms, followed by periods of partial or complete recovery. Primary progressive MS, on the other hand, progresses steadily from the onset of symptoms without remissions or relapses. Secondary progressive MS is initially characterized by relapses and remissions, but later develops into a progressive form of the disease. Finally, progressive-relapsing MS is a rare form that progresses steadily from the onset of symptoms, but also includes periods of relapses.
Images from nationalmssociety.org
Currently, there is no cure for MS, but there are a range of treatments available to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These treatments can include medications to reduce inflammation, manage symptoms, and modify the course of the disease.
Scientists continue to research and explore new treatments and potential cures for MS. Some recent studies have focused on stem cell therapy, which involves transplanting healthy stem cells into the body to replace damaged cells and tissues. Other studies have investigated the potential of gene therapy to correct the genetic mutations that contribute to the development of MS.
While there is still much to be learned about MS and its underlying causes, there is hope for those living with the disease. Advances in research and treatment continue to offer new possibilities for managing symptoms, slowing progression, and ultimately finding a cure.
As we mark MS month, it is important to raise awareness of the impact of this disease and the ongoing efforts to find a cure. By supporting research and advocacy efforts, we can work together to improve the lives of those affected by MS and move closer to a world free from this challenging disease.
How can you help? Here are five ways you can help make a difference:
Help raise awareness about MS by sharing information and resources with your friends, family, and community. You can participate in MS awareness campaigns, share information on social media, and organize fundraising events to support MS research and advocacy.
There are many opportunities to volunteer for MS organizations and support groups. You can help organize events, participate in walks or bike rides, or assist with fundraising and awareness efforts.
Donating to MS organizations and research groups is another way to help fight MS. Even small donations can make a difference in supporting research and providing resources for people living with MS. Here are but a few places you can donate to:
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Donate
- Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: https://mymsaa.org/donate/
- Accelerated Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis: https://acceleratedcure.org/donate
- Multiple Sclerosis Foundation: https://msfocus.org/Donate
You can help advocate for policies and legislation that support people living with MS. This can include supporting funding for MS research and treatment, advocating for disability rights and access to healthcare, and raising awareness about the impact of MS on individuals and families. Support People Living with MS: Finally, supporting people living with MS can make a significant difference in their lives. This can include offering emotional support, providing practical assistance with daily tasks, and helping to raise awareness and educate others about the challenges of living with MS.
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