How much do you know about MS? Whether you have MS or know someone who does, knowing the facts about this disease can help you understand how it affects the body and mind and why it causes the symptoms it does. It can also help you plan for the future.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States. It’s the most common neurological disease in young adults, usually developing between the ages of 20 and 40 — just when a person is often establishing a family and career.
It’s normal to feel upset and afraid upon hearing a diagnosis of MS. But the good news is that MS can usually be managed successfully with a combination of medication, a healthy lifestyle, and social support from friends, family, healthcare providers, and other people living with MS.
Knowing the facts about multiple sclerosis can help you understand what’s going on in your body and why your MS isn’t exactly like anyone else’s. It can inform the discussions you have with your doctor about how to best manage the disease. And it can help you explain to others what MS is and what it isn’t.
Take this quiz to assess your knowledge of MS — and maybe learn a few new things in the process.
1. Multiple Sclerosis Is an Autoimmune Disorder
True Most experts believe that MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that normally protects nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly reacts against a self-antigen, which is a normal protein or cell marker that should not provoke such a response.
In the case of MS, researchers still don’t know what self-antigen triggers the immune system response. Some experts refer to MS as an “immune-mediated” disease but stop short of classifying it as an autoimmune disease.
2. Numbness, Tingling, Vision Changes, and Balance Problems Are Common Early Signs of MS
True Numbness and tingling, vision changes, and balance and walking problems are common early signs and symptoms of MS, but because many other conditions besides MS can also cause them, they are not always recognized as the beginnings of MS.
In fact, MS is often misdiagnosed as something else. According to a 2017 survey conducted by MultipleSclerosis.net, of the 5,311 people with MS who responded, 25 percent were initially diagnosed with depression, 15 percent with migraine, 14 percent with fibromyalgia, 13 percent with a psychiatric disorder, 11 percent with vitamin B12 deficiency, and 10 percent with chronic fatigue disorder.
|Read on: True or False: Test Your Knowledge About Multiple Sclerosis|