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Understanding multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a nervous system disease that interferes with messages sent between the nervous system and body. With this condition, the body’s immune system attacks the protective nerve cell layer called the myelin sheath. While MS tends to worsen over time and has no cure, medications and other treatments can often slow its progression.

If you or your family member has an MS diagnosis, learn more about what to expect when living with this disease.

Symptoms of MS

MS can have many different symptoms that vary dramatically from person to person, which is part of the reason it can be difficult for doctors to diagnose this disease. Some of the most common symptoms include limited mobility, debilitating fatigue, tremors, cognitive issues such as confusion, and acute or chronic pain. Many people also experience vision problems, such as blurry or double vision.

Most people have a form of this disease called relapse-remitting MS. Symptoms tend to periodically worsen, then resolve before returning within weeks or months.

Treatments for MS

People who have MS should have a health care team to help manage the various manifestations of this disease. Your doctor may recommend:

  • Medications to slow the progression of MS
  • Corticosteroids to reduce the severity and frequency of symptom relapse
  • A nutritious diet and regular exercise
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Complimentary therapies like meditation, acupuncture and massage

Individuals who can no longer work because of MS symptoms may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Carefully documenting your symptoms and providing medical records that show how the disease interferes with employment can improve your chances of approval.