Sclerosis Day is a movement initiated by the Multiple Sclerosis International
Federation (MSIF) and encourages its society members, individuals or groups to
work together to raise awareness about Multiple Sclerosis (MS), the
neurological disease that affects young adults. World Multiple Sclerosis Day
falls on the last Wednesday of May each year, and this year, on May 28. On this
day, many health experts, political leaders, organizations, social workers and
individuals come together to organize activities to spread awareness about the
management of Multiple Sclerosis. Since its start, World MS day has been
reaching out to more than 67 countries worldwide and still growing.
Multiple Sclerosis is
one of the most common neurologically debilitating diseases in young adults,
affecting about 2.3 million people worldwide. It is a disease of the central nervous
, normally diagnosed in adults between 20 and 40 years of age.
The body begins attacking its own nerve fibers, which in turn become scarred,
looking like sclerosis. Signals to and from the brain are not relayed and there
is a general loss of sensory and motor abilities, depending on the nerve or
group of nerves affected.
The theme for this
year is "Access", the aim being to access health care, work or educational
opportunities or support groups, breaking the barriers the disease brings in.
The access can also be to reach out for drugs, information and treatment of the
condition. People can share their wishes by completing the tagline "One day, I
will ..." and sharing across the social networks.
Unlike many other
diseases and conditions, diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis is not straightforward
as the symptoms and signs are very vague. The symptoms may occur sporadically,
with relapses and remissions, or may be progressive.
is the most common symptom of MS, occurring possibly due to structural
abnormality in the brain with demyelination (damage to the protective covering
of the nerve cells) and axonal loss. Other symptoms include cognition and
emotional changes, bladder and bowel control problems, sexual
due to sensory loss, loss or blurring
and movement and coordination problems.
The types of pain
found in patients with MS include headache
, musculoskeletal pain, facial pain or trigeminal neuralgia,
painful tonic spasms, continuous burning pain in the extremities and many
Help for patients with
Multiple sclerosis is available worldwide and in many forms. One can go for
disease modifying treatments that aim to prevent or reduce the relapses of MS,
treating symptoms with drugs such as immunosuppressants
rehabilitation and physical therapy and alternative therapies.
Living with Multiple
Sclerosis becomes possible with will power, determination and support from
family, friends and support groups. The roles in the family may be altered, but
many people continue to work or study after the diagnosis of MS, with
appropriate adjustments. Persons of child-bearing age with MS, can start a
family, but need to consider certain issues like future care and responsibility
of the child to be born, financial concerns, lasting relationships and managing
moods and emotions.
With the onset of MS,
affected persons need to accept the challenges posed by the condition and
change to healthy lifestyle habits like eating and exercising
well. A well-balanced
is recommended, with low-fat and high fiber. Regular exercise
helps to improve strength, overcome fatigue and also stabilize mood.
Stretching, low impact aerobics
strength training, etc can be done after consulting the doctor.
Multiple sclerosis is
not contagious and there is no drug to treat the condition. Managing the
condition with determination and support is the only way to win.