May 30 is World MS Day. This year’s theme, #MyInvisibleMS, is meant to raise awareness about the invisible symptoms that many MS patients experience.
Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that impacts the central nervous system and occurs when a disruption of signals between the brain and the spinal cord cause damage on the myelin surrounding the nerve cells. This disruption results in unpredictable – and often invisible – symptoms, including the “MS hug.” Other invisible symptoms include fatigue, numbness and tingling, weakness, dizziness, walking difficulties, vision issues and cognitive changes. These symptoms, while invisible, are life changing. There are a number of misconceptions about what MS patients can or cannot do, and organizations like the National MS Society are dedicated to educating the public and advocating on behalf of all MS patients.
While scientists are unsure what causes MS, they continue to research the disease and work towards developing a cure. Although anyone can suffer from MS, women are two to three times more likely than men to be diagnosed with the disease. There is no cure for MS, but patients and doctors report that diet, exercise, cognitive and social health all play a role in helping manage the disease.
While patients work with their doctors to manage their disease and its symptoms, they often battle stigmas associated with #MyInvisibleMS. The Chronic Disease Coalition is proud to support MS patients and elevate their voices. Last year, the CDC published a guest blog written by MS patient and advocate Yvonne deSousa on her experience with MS. Additionally, the CDC is proud to partner with Amy Sparks, an MS patient and CDC Ambassador, to bring awareness to the disease. Amy’s website, Reinvent Chronic, speaks to her experience as an MS patient and is full of information and tips on how to cope and live with this invisible illness.
Visit WorldMSDay.org for more information on MS and learn how you can support those living with the disease.