It has been estimated that 2.5 million people in the world and over 100,000 people in the UK have Multiple Sclerosis. The proportion of women with MS is increasing and that roughly between two and three women have MS for every man with the condition. Those parts of Asia, Africa and America that lie on the equator have extremely low levels of MS, whilst Canada and Scotland have particularly high rates.
In any one person, the symptoms can vary from day to day. It is not fatal and most people with MS live about as long as everyone else. Some of the most common symtoms for people who are newly diagnosed are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion), stumbling more than before, unusual feelings in the skin (such as pins and needles or numbness), slowed thinking or problems with eyesight. Not everyone experiences all of them.
Causes of MS:
You might wonder:
- Did I do something wrong?
- Could I have stopped MS from happening?
The answer to these questions is no!
The causes of MS are not well understood but it seems that a number of different factors add up to trigger the condition. Some of these factors are in the world around us (possibly including lack of sunshine and vitamin D).
- Did I get MS from my parents? Will I pass it to my kids?
MS is not inherited in a predictable way like some conditions and most people have no previous family history of MS. Some genes make it more likely that someone gets MS but having these genes is definitely not enough on its own.
Types of multiple sclerosis:
Relapsing remitting MS
Someone with relapsing remitting MS will have flare-ups of symptoms, known as relapses. These can last from a few days to a few months.
These will be followed by periods where symptoms are mild or disappear altogether. This is known as remission and can last for days, weeks or sometimes months.
Secondary progressive MS
Usually after around 15 years, around half of people with relapsing remitting MS will go on to develop secondary progressive MS.
In secondary progressive MS, symptoms gradually worsen over time. Some people may still have relapses, but without full recovery from symptoms.
Primary progressive MS
The least common form of MS is primary progressive MS.
In this type, symptoms gradually get worse over time and there are no periods of remission.
There is currently no cure for MS but there are a number of treatments that can help. Relapsing remitting MS can be treated with disease-modifying drugs which are designed to reduce the number of relapses someone has. But they are not suitable for all people with MS. Some of these drugs can also be used for treating secondary progressive MS, if someone is still experiencing relapses. At the moment, there is no treatment that can slow the progress of primary progressive MS. There are also a wide range of treatments, including physiotherapy, that can help relieve symptoms and make day-to-day living easier. Steroids can also be used to speed up recovery from relapses.
Adaptawear understands an MS sufferer may have difficulty dressing themselves and we have a wide range of ladies and men's clothing adapted to help with dressing.
We have front-fastening bras specially designed for ladies with limited hand dexterity, arthritis, MS, and upper arm mobility. The bras are designed for comfort and are perfect for ladies looking for gentle support.
For more information on MS please visit www.mstrust.org.uk