MS misc

Integrated Medicine & MS  http://www.msassociation.org/publications/winter07/cover.story.asp 

  1.  Consider medicine treatment
  2. Dietary changes (avoiding saturated fats etc) & supplements to correct deficiencies
  3. Mind-Body connection (religion, spirituality)
  4. Promote excercise (examples, water exercise, yoga, & t’ai chi)
  5. Treatment of MS symptoms

Dr. Swank Diet: http://swankmsdiet.org/index.php/diet/what_is_ms/

My Personal MS

symptoms:

  • numbness all down the outer left leg & bottom of feet, sometimes shows up on right leg as well.
  • tingling, pins and needles, feelings of burning, cold, wetness, or other odd sensations (paresthesias)
  • dizzyiness
  • vison problems (though I’m not sure its related)
  • fatigue that may be brought on by minimal activity
  • L’hermitte’s Sign (an electrical sensation down the spine that occurs upon suddenly bending the neck forward – this is what made my chiropractor tell me I should go have an MRI done)

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MS: disease of mystery

Published: March 22, 2008 in the News-Register

 

 

Commentary
By Serina Clason

Empowerment through education is an important goal of the multiple sclerosis Foundation. March is National MS Awareness Month, a time when the organization redoubles its efforts to encourage a better understanding of this neurological disease and assist those who are living with it.

I became more aware of MS recently and I want to learn all I can about this disease. I wish I could say the sudden interest was inspired by a headline, an article or even an e-mail proclaiming that “March is National MS Awareness Month.”

However, the simple truth is that earlier this month I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Just seeing the words “March is National MS Awareness Month” on this page holds deep meaning for me.

After the initial shock, I set out to find as much information as possible. I knew hardly anything other than the fact that I had it. Many people think of muscular dystrophy when you speak of MS, but they are different diseases.

MS attacks nervous system

The exact cause of MS is not yet known. It is not contagious nor is it necessarily a matter of inheriting the condition from someone in your family. It doesn’t appear to be a single gene that decides whether or not a person will develop the disease, but rather a combination of genes that may make one more susceptible.

Depending on the source, somewhere between 350,000 and 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis, and that number grows to 2.5 million worldwide. MS is found more frequently in women than in men, and usually is diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

In a quick Internet search, one can learn about a diverse group of people with MS: talk show host Montel Williams, Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, comedian and actor Richard Pryor, Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, NASA physicist Natalie Mandzhavidze, singer and actor Annette Funicello, and local guitarist James LaRocca, just to name a few.

Multiple sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease. Basically, white blood cells (leukocytes) initiate an inflammatory response and one’s own immune system, which should function to protect us from becoming sick, ironically starts attacking the myelin sheath surrounding the central nervous system as if it were a foreign body.

Think of these myelin sheaths as being fatty coatings with a function like that of insulation. Nerves need these myelin sheaths to be able to efficiently conduct pulses and maintain communication with other parts of the body. When damage occurs to these myelin sheaths, transmission of nerve impulses can be slowed, stopped or even can jump to other damaged areas and cause lesions, also known as plaques. The disruption of the transmissions is what causes some of the debilitating symptoms of MS.

Depending on the damaged area, afflicted people could have very different symptoms. Because few symptoms are unique to MS, it can be difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms can be changes in vision, motor skills, coordination, balance and energy level, or other symptoms including depression or anxiety, sensory issues and bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction.

In my case, I have been diagnosed fairly early and so far my only symptoms are altered sensations, such as numbness, tingling and other hot or cold feelings in my legs and bottoms of my feet, mostly centered on my left side.

Different rates, types of progression

• Relapsing remittance, the most common form of MS. People with relapsing-remittance-type MS may experience rotating periods of flare-ups, or exacerbations, and remissions. Conditions worsen but may be followed by states of apparent recovery.

• Primary progression. With primary progressive MS, people experience continuous worsening of symptoms with few remission periods. The rate of progression varies; nerve function loss may occur rapidly or slowly, depending on the individual.

• Secondary progression. Patients with this form initially may experience a remission period that can last for several years. Unfortunately, it is then followed by continual worsening of conditions without remission periods.

• Progressive relapsing, the most serious form of MS. Individuals will experience continuous disease progression from the time of their initial diagnosis without any recovery or remission periods.

Treatment, symptom management

Although there is still no cure for MS, effective strategies are available to modify the disease course, treat exacerbations, manage symptoms, improve function and safety, and provide emotional support. In combination, these treatments enhance the quality of life for people living with MS.

There are several FDA-approved medications for multiple sclerosis such as Avonex, Betaseron, Rebif, Copaxone and others. I haven’t researched all of them, but many are injections that I could give myself in conjunction with the advice of my doctor.

Some reports indicate that dietary changes can impact people suffering with MS, though my neurologist warned that these were not proven. However, in the past week I’ve been given and purchased several books on the subject of diet in regard to MS treatment. Personally, I plan to treat my MS with a combination of drugs as well as dietary changes. Some patients enlist the help of complementary treatments to minimize symptoms through acupuncture and massage.

Regardless of my treatment choice, I have promised myself I will remain as positive as I can in moving forward with my life.

Fast Facts

You can find more information at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website, http://www.nationalmssociety.org

For a more personal look, I’ve also found a site that includes links to many blogs written by people with MS: http://carnivalofmsbloggers.blogspot.com.

Guest writer Serina Clason has worked for OnlineNW for the past eight years. She gives credit for her strength and inspiration during this time to her wonderful husband, Deon, and their three children, as well as the support from family, friends at work and prayers from her church.

Family, Nutrition, Reflection and Learning

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