National Multiple Sclerosis Day

On December 18, National Multiple Sclerosis Day is celebrated with the sole intention of raising awareness of the pathology and disseminating the characteristics of the illness as well as the problems faced by those affected. This pathology affects more women than men, and in Spain alone there are more than 47 thousand people affected, more than 60 thousand in Europe and approximately 2.5 million throughout the world. Every year, 1,800 new cases of MS are diagnosed in Spain, and it is the second cause of disability among the young, after traffic accidents.

MS is a chronic autoimmune, inflammatory, demyelinating, neurodegenerative and progressive disease affecting the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. The first symptoms usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40 years and is more common in women. The usual early onset symptoms are fatigue, vision problems, tingling, numbness, dizziness and lightheadedness, muscle weakness, spasms, and problems with balance and coordination.

Also called the disease of a thousand faces, because of the many effects and symptoms it presents, differing from one person to another. Most of the manifestations of the disease are ‘invisible’, but they have an impact on the daily life of those who suffer from it. It causes great disability with motor, cognitive and visual acuity problems, accompanied by anxiety and depression.

MS mainly produces myelin lesions, which alters the transmission of nerve impulses.

The disease appears suddenly, however in some cases it can be progressive. The treatment will depend on how fast the disease has developed, and therefore early detection and prompt treatment is the key.

Early symptoms include vision loss, sensory loss in the extremities, tingling, altered balance, loss of strength or motor difficulties, which in some cases may improve with the passing of days. However, early treatment by a physician is essential to avoid the appearance of sequelae from the initial phase of the disease.

There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis, however there are palliative and symptomatic treatments that can considerably change the course of the disease and improve the quality of life, reducing the symptoms.