We all know a bunch about all the small ways your body can get it wrong. A cold, the flu, and headaches anytime the body just needs a little tune up. What does not make for polite dinner conversation is the big ones. In which the body turns way off course and terms like ‘managing’ this disease come into play. But not understanding the ones that require more than some TLC and chicken soup just leave us in the dark. And I believe ignorance is just plan ignorance. So for today let’s tackle a big one, Multiple Sclerosis.
To understand Multiple Sclerosis you have to first know a bit about our central nervous system i.e. our brain and spinal cord. Our nervous system, just like the electric wires in your home, works at a lightening fast pace.
In a coordinated effort of movements, all the internal meters send messages back up to the big boss, your brain. Although all the nerves work in the blink of an eye, some are equipped to work double time. To accomplish this extra speed some of our nerves in our brain and cord are covered with a myelin sheath. This fatty protein surrounds these nerves and just like wax on skis it speeds up the message.
Sclerosis means to scar. And with this disease this myelin sheath is attacked by our body’s own immune system. Somewhere the signals get mixed and our antibodies and white blood cells go on the offensive. The battle wounds here are hardened patches of sheath that can eventually eat away to the center or the nerve itself. This fatty layer is resilient and can patch up but once the nerve is involved the permanent damage of MS will set in.
Our brains are mapped out and each section serves a different function. So the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can be as varied as our brain. Some people may first experience numbness in a section of the body, for others it’s double vision, some just notice trouble with balance and walking.
While every case of MS is unique, most notice times when symptoms are prominent (called attacks) with periods in between that can be totally symptom free. As time goes by though the symptom-free times can become more and more scarce.
For those living with Multiple Sclerosis a wait and see treatment plan is often prescribed for those with infrequent attacks. A handful of medications are also available for controlling symptoms. At times like this it is also important to circle the wagons and get the support you need.
Heat can trigger symptoms so a good air conditioner is a necessity. And there couldn’t be a better time to take care of you. Hitting the gym, eating whole organic foods, taking your vitamins and getting all your sleep can help keep you strong. Getting adjusted can also keep the chips on your side. Know this is a complex disease, but that is never a reason to just roll over and let it control your life.
Multiple Sclerosis is a serious disease, which can take on many faces. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to reach out. A hug can pack as much punch as any man made remedy.