Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), hundreds of thousands of people in America are living with it – approximately 400,000 people to be exact, and of that, 86 percent list fatigue as the leading symptom of the disease. The cause of MS is not known; it is not contagious or known to be directly passed down from one family member to another, but factors that may play a role include the following:
- Gender – Women are affected more than two times as often as men
- Age – The majority of people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50
- Geography – Most people with multiple sclerosis live in temperate environments
- Ethnic background – Those with Caucasian origin are at a greater risk
It is thought that multiple sclerosis symptoms occur when an immune system attack affects myelin, the protective insulation encompassing nerve fibers of the central nervous system. For individuals with MS, myelin is destroyed and replaced by scars of toughened sclerotic tissue. Some underlying nerve fibers are permanently severed, and the damage manifests in multiple places within the central nervous system — providing the disease with its name.
While no cure for multiple sclerosis has been discovered yet, a few FDA-approved drugs are available for the long-term treatment of MS. These drugs have been shown to lower the number and severity of MS flare-ups, and possibly postpone disease progression. Additionally, numerous therapeutic and technological advances are assisting those with MS to control symptoms.
If you live in the Fremont, Sunnyvale or San Jose, CA area, contact Visiting Angels to find out how our senior caregivers can help a person with multiple sclerosis feel empowered, motivated and connected to others and live his or her best life. Feel free to call us anytime at 408-735-0977 in Sunnyvale or 510-284-0000 in Fremont, or 408-610-9996 in San Jose or review our in-home and respite-care services online.