MS Awareness Week are saying #LetsTalkMS.
The MS Society will give you the tools to feel confident about speaking up. And share stories of how others found their voice. With your help, you can create lots of buzz on social media and in the press. #LetsTalkMS.
This year MS Awareness Week wants you to speak up about MS and the work of the MS Trust. Multiple sclerosis is a complex condition which is often misunderstood. By raising awareness of MS, and the MS Trust work supporting people living with the condition, you’ll help ensure everyone with MS gets the support and information they need.
People with M.E. disappear from society and can easily be forgotten and overlooked. The MS Trust say do it your way. Whether you are holding a bake sale or planning a party, fundraise YOUR way for people with MS. They will be there to help every step of the way.
Please share REAL stories and images far and wide between 19th-25th April.
MS in nearly three times more common in woman than men. It is also more common in countries further north or south from the equator.
Facts about MS
- MS is a disease affecting the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).
- It’s estimated that 130,000 people in the UK have MS.
- Every week around 100 more people are diagnosed.
- It’s nearly three times more common in women than in men.
- Most people are diagnosed in their 20s and 30s but it can be diagnosed in younger and older people.
- MS isn’t infectious or contagious so you can’t catch it or pass it on to other people.
- MS is the most common condition of the central nervous system affecting young adults.
- MS is a life long condition but it is not a terminal illness.
- Everyone’s MS is different so no two people will have the same range and severity of symptoms, even if they are closely related.
- MS is more common in countries further north or south from the equator.
- MS is not inherited, but family members do have a slightly higher risk of developing MS.
What happens in MS?
Your immune system is your body’s natural defence system which helps your body fight against infections.
Your central nervous system contains nerve cells which process information and communicate messages to and from different areas of your body triggering a response, such as lifting your foot when walking or contracting the muscles in the bladder wall so you can empty your bladder.
In MS your immune system mistakenly attacks your central nervous system. When the attack happens, the immune system targets the protective covering around your nerves (called myelin). This covering is there to protect your nerves and help messages travel along them smoothly.
When myelin is damaged (called demyelination) messages don’t pass along your nerves as efficiently as they used to so messages can be delayed or sometimes may not get through at all. These areas of damage are called lesions and they cause the symptoms you experience.
After an attack your body is able to repair itself to some extent. In the earlier stages of MS, your body has the ability to replace the damaged myelin (called remyelination), although it tends to be thinner than unaffected myelin so the messages may not travel as fast as they did before. Your brain also has the ability to reroute messages to avoid an area of damage so that messages can still get through – this is known as plasticity.
MS is thought to be an autoimmune and neurodegenerative condition. Autoimmune because your body is attacking healthy cells and neurodegenerative because the loss of myelin can leave nerves exposed and more vulnerable to long-lasting damage.
Symptoms vary from person to person and from day to day. This can make your MS rather unpredictable. It’s completely normal for it to take some time to adjust and adapt to this unpredictability going forward in your life.
Some of the most common symptoms around the time of diagnosis are fatigue (a kind of exhaustion which is out of all proportion to the task undertaken), unusual feelings in your skin (such as pins and needles, numbness or burning), problems with eyesight, memory and thinking problems, and walking difficulties (such as tripping, stumbling, weakness or a heavy feeling in your legs).