Medical Minute: MS

Multiple Sclerosis was one of the first diseases ever to be scientifically described and is one of the most common diseases of the nervous system. Though it's been recognized for more than a century, the first drug to treat the disease didn't come until 1993.

This week, about 200 people will be told they have MS. Julie and Sue both have MS. Symptoms can include fatigue, vision problems, dizziness, slurred speech, stiffness or bladder problems. Dr. Daniel Jacobs says early diagnosis and treatment is key.

"If you can stop MS very early on, you have a chance of reducing the amount of brain damage and thereby reducing the disability."

Even with the disabilities of the disease, people often find a silver lining. A recent survey of 800 patients shows nearly 50 percent say it's had a positive impact on their life, and 61 percent have improved communication with their partner.

"I thought it was a death sentence, but then I just researched it and realized that you can live a full and healthy life."

MS is not considered a fatal disease, but it can take its toll. Still, nearly 90 percent of patients surveyed say they've found inner strength and coping mechanisms they never knew they had.

"I still work full time, so trying to balance two kids and a full-time job."

These women say, though ms will change your life, it doesn't have to end it.

For more information, contact:

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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