This World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day, the #BringingUsCloser campaign aims to connect those affected by MS with those involved in MS research, including scientists, students, nurses, fundraisers, volunteers, and more. It’s a chance to come together to celebrate what has been achieved in research so far, and share hopes for the future.
Multiple Sclerosis is a devastating condition which affects over 100,000 people and their families in the UK alone. While it is most commonly diagnosed when people are aged between 20 and 30, it can develop at any age and is more common in women than men. This World Multiple Sclerosis Day, it’s important to learn what life is like for those suffering with MS and raise awareness about the condition and its symptoms.
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that can affect the spinal cord and/or the brain. The range of potential symptoms any sufferer can experience varies including visual problems, arm or leg movement issues, problems with muscle control and sensation or balance problems.
While MS can often be mild for a lot of those with the condition, it can also be seriously debilitating for others which can lead to difficulty getting around the house and carrying out normal daily tasks. And while it’s not necessarily a fatal condition in itself, it can lead to slightly reduced average life expectancy for those suffering from it.
What are the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
Because the effects of the condition are different for everyone who has the disease, it can be tricky to pin down what all of the symptoms are. Symptoms can affect any part of the body and depending on the type of MS, symptoms can come and go in phases. The main symptoms of MS include:
- Difficulty walking
- Vision problems such as blurred vision
- Bladder control problems
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Tingling or numbness around the body
- Balance and coordination issues
- Problems thinking, learning, or planning
How and why does Multiple Sclerosis happen?
MS happens when your immune system begins to attack the fatty material around your nerve fibres called myelin. Myelin is there to protect the nerve fibres, and without it they become damaged, leading to possible scar tissue.
This damage has knock on effects, such as preventing the signals from the brain reaching their destinations throughout your body correctly. The nerves don’t work as they usually should, which is why sufferers may experience symptoms such as muscle stiffness, numbness and tingling.
Currently, doctors are unsure what the cause of MS is. However, they have discovered many factors that seem to make the condition more likely, including smoking, and those with certain genes.
How are MS charities fighting the condition?
There are lots of different MS charities taking different approaches to fighting the disease. As well as research charities there are also therapy centres such as Kent MS Therapy Centre and Revive MS Support that provide therapies and activities dedicated to improving the quality of life for those suffering with MS.
Therapy centres provide all the necessary equipment as well as qualified staff to administer and supervise. Therapies include acupuncture, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, reflexology and yoga.
Then there are research charities such as MS Research and Relief Foundation and Spinal Research that are dedicated to furthering understanding of the condition and developing new and improved treatments. Their research is vital to find an eventual cure for the condition, as well as help overcome the downsides of current treatment options.
How can I support Multiple Sclerosis charities this World MS Day?
Remember you can support MS charities for free when you shop at your favourite retailers through Savoo. We’re currently working with:
- Kent MS Therapy Centre
- Revive MS Support
- MS Research and Relief Foundation
- Spinal Research
- The Brain and Spine Foundation
- National Brain Appeal
Every time you use a voucher code or deal from Savoo we’ll donate to your chosen charity on your behalf. For more information about how Savoo’s Search, Save and Raise initiative works, visit our ‘how it works‘ page or go to the charity directory to choose which charity you’d like to support.