Multiple Sclerosis Misconceptions
Receiving a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will strike fear in the hearts of most patients. The very name of the disease conjures images of permanent disabilities and thoughts of wheelchairs. It is a myth that MS is an automatic death sentence, or a debilitating disease that will render most patients incapable of living a normal life and life span. The fact is that there are currently over 400,000 Americans living productive lives with this disease and less than 25% are confined to a wheelchair or bed. It is also a myth that once you are in a wheelchair or bed that it will be a permanent need. It is a fact that relapses can cause such conditions as mobility issues and even paralysis that could necessitate the use of a wheelchair or confinement to a bed. Most often, however, these conditions are temporary.
Adjusting to the myriad of myths surrounding MS can be more difficult than coping with the often painful disease. While research continues, it is a fact that there is no cure for this condition, but it is a myth that there are no medical treatments. There are many ways to help control the course of this disease. Through medication, therapy, exercise, diet and simple lifestyle changes, the progression of MS can frequently be slowed. Most importantly, a positive attitude with less stress and the loving support of family and friends can also contribute to a more healthy life.
Another myth that surrounds the mystery of this disease is that it is contagious. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and the central nervous system. It affects more Caucasian women between the ages of 20 and 40, but it can affect anyone of any race, gender and age. Although no cure has been found for this disease, it is a fact that medical research has established that Multiple Sclerosis is not contagious.
It is a myth that MS patients cannot and should not have children. MS patients can indeed have children. In fact, pregnancy and childbirth have no long-term effect on this disease. It is a fact that MS is not a hereditary disease. Research has also shown that the chance of a child born to an affected person has only one to five percent greater risk of developing this disease.
Many more myths than facts surround this disease. It is a fact, however, that close monitoring by doctor and patient is imperative in helping control the symptoms of this disease. Research that helps dispel the many myths surrounding this condition can also contribute greatly to a healthier mind and body