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Common Misconceptions about Multiple Sclerosis
(DECEMBER 2013) With nearly 400,000 Americans reported to have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), according to the National MS Society, the disease is anything but rare. Fortunately, with recent advances in medical technology, it’s easier to live with MS than ever before.
Still, Multiple Sclerosis is a disease with many common misconceptions attached to it and a need for increased awareness. Let’s lay to rest some common myths.
MS is fatal.
The first thing people often ask when they hear a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis is whether or not the disease is fatal. It isn’t. Most patients with MS live active, healthy lives and have a normal lifespan. A very small percentage of severe MS patients die from complications, but this isn’t the norm.
MS is for the elderly.
While MS is often thought of as a disease you can only get with old age, the average MS patient is between the ages of 20 to 50 years old. The disease can, of course, be found among senior citizens, but by the same token, it has been seen in children and teenagers. Truthfully, MS can affect anybody, regardless of age.
MS is entirely genetic.
If you have a family member who suffered from MS, it’s true you are up to 10 times more likely to contract the disease, however it is not a guarantee. Many people carrying the MS gene never develop the disease, due in part to environmental factors and pathogens. These factors could trigger MS in one person’s body and not in another.
Every MS case runs the same course.
Those environmental factors play a big role in determining whether or not a person develops MS and can also determine the severity. Lifestyle, habits and behaviors all contribute to increasing or decreasing the severity of MS in an individual. No two cases are the same.
MS means a lifetime in a wheelchair.
Many view MS as a crippling disease that will surely land you in a wheelchair, but often MS patients never need a wheelchair to get around. It’s no certainty that an MS patient will suffer any sort of severe paralysis. While some do, others just feel a little numbness in their limbs.
There is no cure for MS just yet, but it has become much more treatable in recent years. In the case of an emergency, however, you need to be able to alert medical professionals of your condition so they can get you the proper treatment for this autoimmune disease. Using a medical id bracelet can help.
With increased awareness about the disease and medical advances, Multiple Sclerosis patients remain hopeful that a true cure is on the horizon.