A comprehensive guide to Multiple Sclerosis
More than 400,000 people in the United States are living with multiple sclerosis (MS), an unpredictable, often disabling neurological disease. MS damages myelin, a protective coating around the nerves in the central nervous system. The damage interferes with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body, resulting in a variety of symptoms, from mild to severe.
Most people diagnosed with MS are between ages 20 and 50. Early symptoms can include blurred or double vision; clumsiness or a lack of coordination; loss of balance; numbness; and tingling and weakness in an arm or leg
To be diagnosed with MS, there must be evidence of at least two areas of damage in the central nervous system that have occurred at different times. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred method for establishing a diagnosis and monitoring the course of the disease. In 95 percent of people with MS, an MRI will reveal lesions on the brain or spinal cord where the myelin coating has been damaged.
Geeta A. Ganesh, M.D., neurologist with Norton Neurology Services, said newly diagnosed MS patients typically ask questions such as, “Will I be in a wheelchair?”; “Will this affect my ability to have children?”; and “Can I give this to my children?”
If you or a loved one has been recently diagnosed with MS, sign up for MS 101 on May 17, 2016, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. This free workshop provides answers to these and other challenging questions about living with MS. The topics covered include:
- What is MS?
- Different types and patterns of MS
- Disease-modifying therapies
- Symptom management
- Communicating with your physician
“My one bit of advice for a newly diagnosed patient is to educate and empower yourself,” Dr. Ganesh said. “There are a lot of great education tools and group forums for patients with MS. The more knowledge you have, the more you can get out of your visits with your doctor.”
The MS 101 workshop will be held in the Joan Riehm Community Room on the third floor of Norton Medical Plaza 2 – St. Matthews, 3991 Dutchmans Lane. Family members and friends of MS patients are encouraged to attend.
The information is valuable for not only newly diagnosed patients, but also those who would like a refresher course, including updated treatment options, and health care workers who want to learn more about the disease. Light refreshments will be provided. Parking is free in the West Parking Garage on the St. Matthews campus. No children are allowed.
To register for MS 101, call (502) 629-1234.