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Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month

March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, as declared by New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, in 2015. Multiple Sclerosis, also commonly known as MS, is an unpredictable and debilitating disease of the central nervous system. It disturbs the movement of knowledge within the brain, and between the body and the brain. 

This disease also consists of the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. MS damages or destroys the protective covering - known as myelin - that surrounds the nerves of the central nervous system, and can potentially injure the nerves as well. This damage causes reduced communication between the brain and nerve pathways. 

Common MS symptoms include: visual problems, overwhelming fatigue, difficulty with balance and coordination, depression and cognitive issues, and various levels of impaired mobility. Women are more likely to develop MS in their lifetime as opposed to men, and most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15  and 50.

MS is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. Unfortunately, as of now, there is no known cure for MS, but there are ways to manage and maintain the symptoms. The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America has a goal to raise awareness and move the world a little closer to being free of MS.

But, why is this all so important? Let's break down the surprising facts and statistics:

  • Approximately 2.3 million people in the world live with MS. MS can occur within a person's body without that person being aware that they are being affecting, therefore making the diagnosis hard to pinpoint. Currently, MS prevalence's are not being consistently reported or tracked, though it is estimated that nearly 1 million people nationwide suffer from MS.  
  • MS has many symptoms that are unpredictable. Sufferers of MS have to contend with extreme fatigue, difficulty walking, balance problems, and weakened vision, among other symptoms. MS symptoms can often be inconsistent, once again making the diagnosis hard to pinpoint, as the symptoms often come and go - depending on the person. 
  • Lastly, there is no direct cause of MS. It is believed that MS occurs from a variety of different factors, such as environmental elements, infectious agents, and immune reactions. Scientists are also researching genetic factors to determine genetic markers within families.

What can you do to help spread awareness of MS?

1. Exercise for MS

There are plenty of events held around communities that help spread awareness of MS with "Bike for MS" or "Walk for MS" being just 2 of them. The more you get moving, the more opportunities you will have to participate and share MS awareness. Plus, as an added bonus, exercising not only helps you to remain active, but it keeps your endorphins pumping, and puts you in a more positive mood.

2. Help Others Become Educated About MS Awareness

Spread the word about MS and its symptoms, what the disease consists of, and how people are able to live with an MS diagnosis. You can start a social media campaign, share your story of living with MS, or share the story of someone you know who is affected by this disease.

3. Participate in MS Awareness Week

MS Awareness Week is held from March 10-16 this year. This event allows you to communicate with others who suffer from this disease, as well as provide tips on how those who suffer from MS can perform their daily activities. It also allows you to share with others why MS is such a disabling disease and why it deserves recognition.   

Help be the change and spread awareness about this painful disease. Living with MS is an ongoing process, beginning with the very first symptoms and continuing throughout the course of the disease. Know what to look for, where to find it, and how to work effectively with your doctor and other health care professionals to best manage your MS. 

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