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What is Multiple Sclerosis?

- 12 November 2008, 07:11

Picture an army that is marching along, getting along, doing everything that an army should do and all is running smoothly in army land.  The army wears cute little coats that protect them from the elements, as well as help them move better.  Without warning, part of the army splits off from the other part of the army and begins to attack.  Now, brother is fighting against brother and those cute little protective coats are getting damaged and even destroyed.

The army represents the nerves in your central nervous system, your brain and spine.  They wear a protective sheath covering called myelin.  For some reason as yet totally unexplained by medical science, your body begins to attack your little myelin covered nerves.  Because the myelin improves the conduction of impulses along the nerves and keep the nerves protected, removing them endangers the health of the nerves, and causes their impulses to be slowed and sometimes stopped completely.

The myelin coats that your little soldiers (nerves) wear are very important, and if they become damaged or destroyed by Multiple Sclerosis, it can affect your eyesight, mobility and cognitive functioning, writing, speaking, memory and even your ability to swallow. In fact, multiple sclerosis will progressively interfere with all functions controlled by the central nervous system.

The average age of diagnosis for MS is between the ages of 20-50, but there have been occurrences in children as well as the elderly. Multiple sclerosis is not exactly an equal opportunity auto-immune disease as it’s far more likely to attack Caucasians than any other race and women are twice as likely to be stricken as their male counterparts.

Having MS is not a death sentence—though it may feel that way at first when faced with the prospect of declining health, mobility, memory and vision.

While there is no way to restore your little soldier’s protective coats, there are measures that can be taken to slow down the progression of the disease and lessen its impact on your life. One of the very best ways to keep your little soldiers all suited up with myelin is to keep yourself as healthy as possible and keep moving no matter what.


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