WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center, 805 Burkesville Street, Columbia, KY, (270) 384-1110
MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young people with 7 new cases diagnosed every day. The symptoms of MS are totally unpredictable. Spread the word.Get the Knowledge, Get a Cure.
Multiple Sclerosis is a complex and unpredictable disease affecting approximately a half million people in the united States, five thousand people in kentucky and 25-30 Adair Countians. MS attacks the tissues in the central nervous system, which includes the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves leading to the eyes.
MS involves inflamation of the fatty tissue, the Mylein, that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers. The Mylein helps the nerve fibers conduct the impulses of our nerves throughout the body. When the Mylein is damaged this causes nerve impulses to be slowed or halted thus producing the symptoms of MS. When Mylein is damaged in a person who has MS a scar or sclerosis is formed. This occurs in many places, especially in the brain. Thus we have many scars or Multiple Sclerosis. When the nerve impulses are slowed or halted the sumptoms of MS occur.
Melissa Corbin, Lpn, Shares Her Personal Story As An Adair Countian Experiencing Multiple Sclerosis
Melissa Corbin (pictured at left), a thirty-seven (37) year old Licensed Practical Nurse at Dr. Phil Aaron Medical Center, has MS. She first felt numbness and tingling in her arms and legs--"a funny feeling." This was accompanied by extreme fatigue. Hot weather, especially the summer, zaps her energy. Fatigue is another problem. When cleaning her house she has to take frequent breaks. Her fatigue is accompanied by shortness of breath.
Melissa and many of those patients who have MS have trouble controlling their bladder, fluctuating between having to urinate frequently and retaining urine. She says her memory was good, but now, she has noticed some short term memory loss, remembering things that happened years ago, but not being able to remember what she are for supper last night. When she gets tired at work or hot or stressed, her balance and coordination are affected, sometimes having vertigo or swimming head.
She has persistent pins and needles pain in her arms and legs. This is accompanied by facial numbness and spastic tremors, muscles that jerk at times. After her muscles quit jerking the onset of pain occurs. She has weakness in her optic nerve going to her eye and has to have frequent adjustments made to her glasses. The MS has also affected her ears leaving her right ear totallydeaf.
The symptoms of MS vary from one person to the next. In addition to the common problems of fatigue, stiffness, weakness, numbness, pain, imbalance, bladder and bowel control and visionproblems some patients develop speech and swallowing difficulties. Problems with memory and thinking, and emotional changes are also very common.
MS is a progressive disease. The longer an individual has it, the more symptoms they will have. This can lead to decreased independence in performing activities of daily living, impairedcommunication and a diminished quality of life with thinking problems and depression.
Some individuals with MS have a severe loss of balance and muscle coordination making it difficult to walk; another might have slurred speech, tremors and stiffness. Pain and numbness of her legs and fatigue are Melissa's main complaints. She works in a facility where she is under a lot of stress, a lot of activity. Sometimes she is able to sit down, this helps her legs; other times she is not. Her symptoms are accompanied by spasticity of her muscles and weakness. Usually in MS the lower extremities are more affected than the upper extremities. MS can progress to seizures and loss of ability to speak. Movement disorders are frequent; as are muscle weakness and atrophy. This can cause multiple areas of paralysis of one limb or one side of the body.
Melissa and others with MS have attacks. Recently she hadspasms in her back and leg accompanied by pain. This acuteattack made her aware that she was becoming ill. Her facebecame numb and she developed a fever. When a person with MS has an attack like this they are often bedfast and incapacitated.
These patients can have symptom free intervals for months or even years between attacks. Individuals with MS experience attacks and remissions, loss and recovery or partial recovery of their abilities. One day a person with MS can dress alone, the next day they can't. The ability to focus and sustain attention with MS and the speed of thinking or information processing is extremely unpredictable. Physicians who treat patients with MS, usually specialists called neurologists, tell Melissa and her family members that she should be under no stress. She should live in an absolutely stress-free environment. This is, as we all know, an impossibility especially since she has two (2) teenage daughters and a four (4) year old son. The work is cut out for Greg, Melissa's husband, Kayla and Brittany, her daughters, and Landon, her son, to protect Melissa from stress to make her life better.
She is fortunate to have an unusually sympathetic husband; she says her family is amazingly helpful. Melissa, like thirty percent of those with MS, needs home care assistance. Eighty percent of that care across the nation is provided by unpaid helpers like she has in her family. Adair County is fortunate to have an active MS Society with its MS Ambassador Linda McKinley, who desires to help others with MS cope with their disease.
The diagnosis of MS is difficult because there is no reliable single laboratory procedure or test to establish this diagnosis. Individuals who have MS need to have a spinal tap (lumbar puncture), an MRI of their brain and spine with accompanying blood work. Melissa tells us her MS is checked by her frequent MRI x-rays. For example, an MRI done in July showed thirteen areas of sclerosis in her brain but by December, six months later, there were twenty (20) affected areas. This shows us how rapidly MS can progress.
The treatment of Multiple Sclerosis is not always successful. There are currently six (6) injections on the market to help slow down the progression of this disease. We are not yet able to cure multiple sclerosis. The MS Society in Adair County is organized to identify and educate patients and families and our community about Multiple Sclerosis. The annual MS Walk this year on September 8 at Columbia Baptist Christian Life Center and other fundraisers conducted across the world support research undertaken in an attempt to treat and cure MS. When a patient has a disease that is poorly understood by others, even by their physicians, it is important to remember the patients not a disease they just have one.
One of the most challenging medical diagnosis is Multiple Sclerosis, MS.
This is what happens in apatient with MS. As the myelin is damaged, scar tissue (sclerosis) is left. This occurs in (multiple) sites.
Seeking a cure, or more effective treatment for MS is currently one of our nation's most challenging areas of research. We hope for Melissa Corbin and all those who share this disease that our nation's researchers continue to make progress.
I look like I'm having the hot flash of the century.
The Dr. Seuss MS Poem By Morgan (mgcpd)
I love my lazy sleepy days