Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system. The disease is often a disabling autoimmune and the condition affects the CNS with symptoms like loss of vision, paralysis and numbness. In the recent decade, there has been a widespread increase of the disease worldwide. In the U.S. the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) estimates that 400,000 Americans are affected. SM progression differs from person to person and therefore it is not easy to gauge how the disease can affect individual persons. This paper will discuss some of the common misconceptions about SM’s causes, treatments and prognosis. The paper will to dispel some of the most common myths about the disease.
All the world over, medical researchers, scientists and academicians share a common shortcoming; failing to translate and describe their professional world-the struggles, successes and the basic workings to the general public. This flaw affects and denies knowledge to the patients who are in constant hope that their conditions will be improved. A veteran neurologist with decades of experience on SM draws a portrait of some of the important failures and successes in the medicine world. The author corrects some of the basic misconceptions about SM and the likelihood of the disease. The author views SM as a primary autoimmune disease whose cause is not exactly known but suspected to be unknown infectious episodes. The author provides a realistic look that surrounds the mystery SM.
A lot of myths and unsubstantiated opinions about SM, both professional and lay about its causation and management have surfaced especially in the last decade mainly due to the diseases prevalence. This is mainly because the disease is not yet well understood and thus the misinformation about it. Here we dispel some f the common held views about SM and they include;
The fact is that contrary to popular belief that MS is fatal, the disease is known to be rarely terminal. According to the NMSS, most MS patients have a normal or an almost normal life expectancy. But it is a known fact that severe cases of MS can shorten a patient’s lifespan.
There is no treatment for MS
This is a myth as the fact is that although there is no known cure for MS, treatments are available to especially help patients cope with the conditions. It is also known that some patients fare well with medication while others do not. Beta interferon therapies are nevertheless known to reduce exacerbations and slow down the progression of physical inability. Immunosuppressant is known to treat advanced forms of MS.
MS can be cured through change in diet or by being optimistic
It is a fact that a balanced diet is needed by all of us to keep healthy but there is no evidence that a change in diet can cure MS patients (QualityHealth).
MS is caused by poor diet or negative thoughts
As by now, science has not yet fully discovered the cause of MS and therefore scientists are not sure whether its cause is poor diet or by having negative thoughts. Data so far suggests that MS may be caused by a combination of other factors including environmental and genetic factors. Some studies also point to hormones and viruses as playing a role in its cause. =
MS affects white people only
It is a fact that MS is more prevalent in the U.S. than other racial groups in the world but this does not mean that MS affects only Caucasians and spares other races. The fact is that the disease affects all races and it has also been discovered by the NMSS that Africans Americans who have the disease experience more aggressive course of the disease than whites.
MS is a condition that will confine one to a wheelchair
The fact is that MS patients experience mobility problems as the condition progresses mainly because it affects the CNS. Due to this, about 25 percent of the patients with the condition are confined to a wheelchair. Although some patients do not use any mobility devices others have to make use of a cane or a scooter to aid them move with ease.
People with MS cannot work or bear children
It is a fact that most experts advise patients with the condition to avoid occupational stress but many patients may be involved in work full time or get involved in lower stress type of jobs. Also, women with the condition have every reason to bear children as there is no reason why women with the condition cannot give birth. The risk of parents passing the condition to their children is a small percentage between 1-5 percent .
MS is not a physically painful condition
The fact is that the disease is associated with most people experiencing numbness and some of the patients experiencing physical pain. According to a study that was carried out, about 55 percent of MS patients do experience clinically significant pain; either chronic or acute pain at some point as the disease progresses .
MS is not a person’s identity and people do remain whom they are except with an added responsibility. People with MS experience an ‘added’ fatigue like that of lifting legs while walking. Although every person is forgetful, MS patients may have more instances of memory losses that may be an indication of signal cognitive impairment affecting about half of the patients. Some of the MS symptoms are invisible and as such family members, friends, doctors and employers need to understand about these patients and especially the individual as the condition varies from person to person.
In conclusion, a number of myths are held by a surprising large segment of people and even health professionals concerning MS. This is because few people have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with MS patients or that they are just unfamiliar with their professional literature. Some of the myths have a direct impact on the patients and therefore it is of paramount importance that they learn and dispel myths about the condition.