What You Need To Know About #LifeWithMS
For World MS Day, the theme this year is #LifeWithMS’, raising awareness of Multiple Sclerosis, which affects three times more women than men. But how much do you know, and what do you need to know about the disease?
Multiple Sclerosis, meaning ‘many scars’, is the most common neurological disease of young adults. It affects more than 9,000 people in Ireland and is usually diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age.
MS affects the motor, sensory and cognitive functioning of the body, but the presence, severity and duration of all MS symptoms vary considerably from person to person.
Some of the most common symptoms of MS include:
- vision problems
- numbness and tingling
- muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness
- mobility problems
- problems with thinking, learning and planning
- bladder problems
- speech and swallowing difficulties
Most people with MS only have a few of these symptoms. See your GP if you're worried; but be aware that the symptoms can be similar to several other conditions, so they're not necessarily caused by Multiple Sclerosis.
MS sufferer Aoife Kirwan has said: “I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I had googled my symptoms and knew MS was a possibility, but it seemed to be diagnosed in people older than me, I now know this is not the case! … Life has changed in little ways. As a mother life is hectic, I need to make more of an effort to get the rest I need. But as my six year old tells me; ‘Some people wear glasses, and some people’s electricity doesn’t work.’ He has it in a nutshell, he wears glasses and that is something he has to live with each day, while I have to deal with disruption to my electrical conductivity."
Managing symptoms is not just about drug treatments; and many people find a healthy lifestyle also helps. A balanced diet, appropriate exercise and keeping stress at a minimum can give the body and mind the best chance to deal with symptoms.
To raise awareness, MS Ireland is organising events across the country, including 9000 Steps for MS, which will see supporters running, walking or dancing 9,000 Steps (6.5k) with colleagues, friends or family. This aims to highlight the challenges including MS attacks, mobility issues, cognitive difficulties and the crucial need for increased neuro-rehabilitation services in Ireland; as well as raising much needed funds for a wide range of specialised services on a national, regional and local level.
Members of the public with any queries relating to MS are invited to call the MS Information Line 1850 233 233. Open Monday- Friday 10am- 2pm. Calls are strictly confidential.
To support World MS Day please Text STEPS to 50300 and donate €4*. Please visit www.ms-society.ie for more information on World MS Day 2017 events; and check out the wonderful #LifeWithMS for ‘everyday tips for life with MS’ to ‘help someone have a better day.’
* Text costs €4. MS Ireland will receive a minimum of €3.25.