Famous rocker Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 26 after going temporarily blind in one eye.
This has many people searching the internet in hopes of learning more about this autoimmune condition.
What happens with multiple sclerosis is the body’s own immune system turns tail and attacks the myelin sheaths around the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. This leads to poor communication as the nerves can’t signal to each other like they used to.
While there is no cure for MS, many people live long healthy lives especially if they know what symptoms to look for and how to take care of their body. Here are five facts about MS that might be important to you.
1. Diagnosis of MS is often very difficult. It includes taking into account the symptoms, imaging of the brain looking for plaques in the white matter of the brain, and testing the cerebrospinal fluid with a lumbar puncture for inflammation.
2. As the nerves are involved, symptoms can come and go depending on severity of the condition or if a flare is triggered. Typically people complain of muscle weakness, spasms, numbness and/or tingling, vision problems (such as Jack Osbourne). They may experience swallowing problems, intestinal and bladder issues (because of the diminished nerve innervations there), depression, or cognitive concerns.
3. There are multiple factors that go into starting or triggering MS and its flares. MS is affected by triggers that could be genetics, environmental exposures, low Vitamin D, high stress, and infections. Women are more affected than men.
4. Treatment can be varied and, unfortunately, may or may not work as there is no cure. However most providers work hard to diminish the flares or slow any progression.
It is important to focus first on things you can do for yourself, which includes a good healthy diet free of inflammatory foods, sugar, fake sweeteners, and alcohol. Make sure to get plenty of fiber and probiotics (good gut bacteria) to improve digestive function.
Focus on stress reduction by doing meditation, yoga, tai chi, journaling or whatever takes you to a happy place.