World MS day: “A day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future”

This year’s theme on World MS day is: “Bringing us closer” - to a cure, to better understanding and to those who struggle with MS daily

World MS day: “A day to celebrate global solidarity and hope for the future”

“The disease with a thousand faces” – also known as Multiple sclerosis. Why a thousand faces? Because each person diagnosed with this incurable chronic disease has unique symptoms. We still don’t know so much about MS , so the World MS organisation decided to “bring people closer” through research for World MS day 2018.

The #bringinguscloser campaign is about connecting people affected by MS with those involved in MS research, including scientists, students, nurses, fundraisers, volunteers, and more. It’s a chance to come together to celebrate what we’ve achieved in MS research so far, and share our hopes for the future.”

Let’s connect – let’s use this day to spread awareness – let’s put ourselves in someone else’s shoes just for today – let’s get closer.

What is Multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an incurable chronic disease in which the immune system destroys tissue in the brain and spinal cord.”

According to the World MS organization: “Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is one of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults. It is a disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and the body.”

MS is caused by the insulating covers of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord being damaged.  Because of this damage, the communication between different parts of the nervous system is disrupted. The person affected can therefore start to experience a range of symptoms, which can be physical, but also mental and psychiatric.

The US National Multiple Sclerosis society has an informative video that gives a clear explanation of this mysterious neurological disease:

As is the case with another unfathomable neurological disease; Parkinson’s, MS can manifest itself a lot of different ways, with different symptoms and different ways of developing. Someone who has been diagnosed can have years of non-painful symptoms, some never even have to use a wheelchair and for others it can be very different.

Four distinct types, or rather disease courses, have been determined:

In order to explain the idea that MS has a lot of different faces, the following video was created for World MS day back in 2009. Take a look and maybe you’ll get a better understanding of what so many people are facing:

Research into MS

As we’ve seen, this year’s theme is research. It goes without saying that there’s still a lot of necessary research to be done, as at this moment there is no cure nor is the cause of MS known. The research done over the last few decades has given us some insight, along with several therapies that have been helpful to MS patients. These therapies have been developed to prevent new attacks or relapses and to prevent disability.

What do we know about MS?

MS needs more research

Even though we do not know what the cause of MS is, the research done has enabled scientists to define several different factors that may influence the development of this disease. What are these factors?

Some important dates in the history of MS

The World MS organization decided to make this year’s theme all about the research we are in such desperate need of, as well as bringing us closer through research. These global awareness days are created in order to bring the community together so that awareness about the disease can be raised, stories can be shared and so that people can campaign with and for those who live with MS.

The World MS organisation has provided the following awareness tools that they hope will be spread around the world, so that as many people as possible will see them and learn more about MS.

In 1868 Multiple Sclerosis is first defined as a medical condition

In 1868 Multiple Sclerosis is first defined as a medical condition

1868 Sylvia Lawry, founder of the world’s first MS organisation establishes the MS International Federation

1967 Sylvia Lawry, founder of the world’s first MS organisation establishes the MS International Federation

The first MRI scans of people with MS enable doctors to see the complete effects of MS on the brain

The first MRI scans of people with MS enable doctors to see the complete effects of MS on the brain

The first country approves the first ever disease-modifying treatment for relapsing MS, designed to reduce relapses and slow disease progression

The first country approves the first ever disease-modifying treatment for relapsing MS, designed to reduce relapses and slow disease progression The world’s first treatment for primary progressive MS is approved in several countries

The world’s first treatment for primary progressive MS is approved in several countries

Balance, Exercise and MS

The national MS society makes a lot of reliable information available for anyone who has an interest in the subject. Research has shown that physical activity for people with MS is very beneficial, and that through exercise, people experience a greater sense of well-being along with:

And even non-psychical benefits such as the social interaction that the experience provides.

At Stannah, we have spent quite some time stressing the importance of working on one’s balance, as loss of balance can be the cause of serious injuries through falls.

MS can affect your balance in a lot of ways:

The good news, however, is that being involved in an exercise program can really help people who suffer from MS. Amongst other things, these are the biggest benefits exercise can bring to an MS patient:

Mobility and MS  

The biggest impairments that people with MS suffer from is a considerable decrease in their mobility. Fatigue is a symptom that a lot of MS patients suffer from, and is one of the most difficult symptoms to manage.

Stannah has been able to help a lot of people who suffer from the effects of MS on their bodies, minds and overall life by constantly working to improve our stairlifts, and by investing in new techniques to make life easier. As one might imagine, not being able to move freely in your own home, plus dealing with all the other impairments MS can bring can be very difficult to accept and can contribute to depression.

We are hopeful that initiatives such as World MS day will create more awareness and more research opportunities so that either a cure can be found or we can stop the disease from developing in the first place.

Research is cause for celebration indeed!

Celebrating how research is bringing us closer to ending MS

Celebrating how research is bringing us closer to ending MS

Sources used:

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Written by Stannah at 30-04-2019