Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Within the CNS, the immune system causes inflammation that damages myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — as well as the nerve fibers themselves, and the specialized cells that make myelin.
- When myelin or nerve fibers are damaged or destroyed in MS, messages within the CNS are altered or stopped completely.
- Damage to areas of the CNS may produce a variety of neurological symptoms that will vary among people with MS in type and severity.
- The damaged areas develop scar tissue which gives the disease its name – multiple areas of scarring or multiple sclerosis.
- The cause of MS is not known, but it is believed to involve genetic susceptibility, abnormalities in the immune system and environmental factors that combine to trigger the disease.
- People with MS typically experience one of four disease courses (types of MS). There are over a dozen treatments to help modify the MS disease process.
At this time, there are no symptoms, physical findings or laboratory tests that can, by themselves, determine if you have MS. Several strategies are used to determine if you meet the long-established criteria for a diagnosis of MS, and to rule out other possible causes of whatever symptoms you are experiencing. These strategies include a careful medical history, a neurologic exam and various tests including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), spinal fluid analysis, and blood tests to rule out other conditions.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system. The best way to explain it, is something called demyelination is occurring in our bodies. This is similar to what happens to your phone charger when the coating comes off and it stops working. The coating of the nerves (called the myelin) is being attacked and causing nerve signals in our bodies to misfire. The damage can occur in the brain and spinal cord. MS is very different from person to person. My set of symptoms may look completely different someone else you may meet. It all depends on where the damaged has happened in your body.
+ Walking (Gait) Difficulties
+ Numbness or Tingling
+ Vision Problems
+ Dizziness & Vertigo
+ Bladder Problems
+ Sexual Problems
+ Bowel Problems
+ Pain & Itching
+ Cognitive Changes
+ Emotional Changes
LESS COMMON SYMPTOMS
+ Speech Problems
+ Swallowing Problems
+ Breathing Problems
+ Hearing Loss
Vision problems, fatigue, spasms, tremors, nerve pain, mobility issues, gait difficulties, numbness & tingling, weakness, bladder problems, dizziness, cognitive issues, speech problems, swallowing problems, seizures and more. MS is very individualized.
+ Neuro Ophthalmologist
+ Physical therapist
+ Occupational therapist
+ Speech and language pathologist
+ MS Specialist
While there is no definitive blood test for MS, blood tests can rule out other conditions that cause symptoms similar to those of MS, including lupus erythematosis, Sjogren's, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, some infections, and rare hereditary diseases.
A regular CBC, Thyroid levels, Vitamin D, JC virus (this depends on the medicine you are on)
- Injectable medications
- Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
- Betaseron (interferon beta-1b)
- Copaxone (glatiramer acetate)
- Extavia (interferon beta-1b)
- Glatiramer Acetate Injection (glatiramer acetate -generic equivalent of Copaxone 20 mg and 40 mg doses)
- Glatopa (glatiramer acetate - generic equivalent of Copaxone 20mg and 40mg doses)
- Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a)
- Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
- Oral medications
- Aubagio (teriflunomide)
- Gilenya (fingolimod)
- Tecfidera (dimethyl fumarate)
- Mavenclad (cladribine)
- Mayzent (siponimod)
- Infused medications
- Lemtrada (alemtuzumab)
- Novantrone (mitoxantrone)
- Ocrevus (ocrelizumab)
- Tysabri (natalizumab)
Vitamin D, magnesium, CBD , B 12 or B complex, St. John’s Wort, Lions Mane,- all beneficial supplements. Disease modifying therapies are Avonex, Copaxone, Gilenya, Aubagio, Tecfidera, lemtrada, Tysabri, and ocrevus. Other medications may be taken for each persons individual symptoms.
METHODS OF HEALING
|I personally swear by movement. I know the word exercise can be intimidating so I chose to say movement for those that may struggle. When you have a disease that wants to take your mobility, the best thing to do is keep that mind to muscle connection and keep moving. Yoga, strength training, walks, bike rides, runs and even gentle stretching are all things I do depending on how I am feeling.|
Lions mane has been great for me as well. Since I have taken it my lesions in my brain and spinal cord have actually shrunk.
Lastly but definitely not least. Take care of your gut. Your brain and gut are connected so in order for our brains to heal we need to heal our guts too. Listen to your body and find foods it loves and wants. This will help keep inflammation down. I also take a greens supplement (Opti greens 50) that has had a tremendous impact on my gut. I also take a daily probiotic and recently invested in the luvele yogurt maker shared by another sister.
Here are some great links and resources to help you as you navigate your Autoimmune Disease.
HAVE QUESTIONS OR NEED MORE SUPPORT?
My passions include fitness, healthy eating and family. Some of my best friends have special abilities and I am so proud of all of them. They always teach me the best life lessons. Oh and I have Multiple Sclerosis but that’s a small part of my life. It’s given me the gift of learning to live in the moment. I will never let it stop me or rob me of joy.
AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES - Multiple Sclerosis and Graves Disease
Their stories are brave, honest and intimately revealing of their diagnosis, their successes, their hardships and their lives. Sharing their stories allows them to put words to their journey while providing inspiration to others with an autoimmune disease.