Knowing the Signs of MS
- Beautician Rebecca-Louise Seddon, 29, experienced vision loss and tingling in her limbs before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
- Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes the immune system to attack cells that form the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers in the spinal cord. It can potentially be debilitating.
- Approximately 400,000 people are currently living with multiple sclerosis in the United States.
- Blurred vision, numbness, and tingling in arms and legs are common symptoms of MS, just as Seddon experienced.
- There is no cure for MS, but MS warriors battling the disease do have methods to manage their symptoms.
- Common tools MS patients use to improve their quality of life include wheelchairs, canes, leg braces and some medical treatments called disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
When 29-year-old beautician Rebecca-Louise Seddon began experiencing vision loss, she suspected she was having problems with her contact lens. She didn’t expect it to be multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease of the brain and spinal cord that can be disabling.
Rebecca-Louise Seddon says she is now learning to live with MS and the “invisible” symptoms that come with it.Read More
“I thought it was a contact lens thing,” she explained.
Tests revealed she had multiple sclerosis, which is a disease of the central nervous system. She stayed in the hospital for two months receiving “plasma exchanges, blood transfusions, and multiple courses of steroids,” The Daily Express reported.
Plasma exchanges remove the proteins that attack the tissue in the body, which helps stop relapses and improve MS symptoms, according to New York University Langone Health.
“A lot of my symptoms are invisible, so no one really notices. I went fully blind but gained my left eye back, thank God. I had to learn how to do things a lot differently,” Seddon said.
“My arms and legs have improved where I can walk and use them, but I can’t feel my legs in a way a normal person can,” Seddon said.
Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis causes the immune system to attack cells that form the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers in the spinal cord. The disruption leads to communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body.
Once the protective barrier is damaged, the spinal cord struggles to send messages to the arms, legs, and other parts of the body to function normally.
Approximately 400,000 people are currently living with multiple sclerosis in the United States.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society outlines the different types of multiple sclerosis:
- Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS): This is when an individual experiences a single neurological episode lasting 24 hours or less. CIS is what MS is diagnosed as until there is a second episode.
- Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS): The most common MS among the million people battling the disease in the US, RRMS is marked by sudden flare-ups, new symptoms, or worsening of symptoms and cognitive function. The condition will then go into remission for some time before reemerging with no known warning signs.
- Primary progressive MS (PPMS): These individuals have no flare-ups or remission, just a steady decline with progressively worse symptoms and an increasing loss of cognitive and body functions.
- Secondary progressive MS (SPMS): This is an almost transitional form of MS that progresses from RRMS to PPMS.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Symptoms for MS can be wide-ranging and easy to confuse with other health conditions that may or may not be serious. According to Mayo Clinic, multiple sclerosis symptoms include:
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time.
- Tingling sensation
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
- Lack of coordination
- Unsteady gait or inability to walk.
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
- Prolonged double vision
- Blurry vision
- Problems with sexual, bowel, and bladder function
- Slurred speech
- Cognitive problems
- Mood disturbances
It’s important to know that experiencing these symptoms does not automatically mean you have MS. If you notice changes to your body or mood, or are concerned about any symptoms you have, you should discuss them with your doctor promptly.
WATCH: Living with MS
Treating Multiple Sclerosis
There is no cure for MS, but MS warriors battling the disease do have methods to manage their symptoms.
Common tools MS patients use to improve quality of life include wheelchairs, canes, leg braces and some medical treatments called disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
Resilient Multiple Sclerosis Warriors
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- Michigan Man Used Bathroom 25 Times a Day, Docs Thought He Had Bladder Cancer – It Was Actually Multiple Sclerosis
- Why Is Actress Selma Blair Getting Chemotherapy For Multiple Sclerosis?
Seddon is currently receiving DMTs to help her manage her MS symptoms.
A study in American Family Physician found DMTs “has been shown to slow disease progression and disability; options include injectable agents, infusions, and oral medications targeting different sites in the inflammatory pathway.”
While chemotherapy is widely known as a cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells, it is also effective at slowing down or stopping disease activity in MS.
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