What people need to know about Multiple Sclerosis

Recently actress Selma Blair revealed she is battling Multiple Sclerosis. Even though Blair is well known for her roles on TV, not many know how Multiple Sclerosis affects one's body and ways it can be prevented.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and can affect body functions depending on which nerves in the brain are affected. Some of these symptoms include frequently dropping things, blurry vision, or having a foggy memory.

MS comes and goes over time, causing the disease to be confusing since symptoms can change and come and go. Scientists don't know what triggers or causes MS, but it is a known to be a process of the immune system attacking the nerve fibers causing signals to slow.

MS is diagnosed by tracking the history of symptoms, a neurological physical exam, and testing such as a spinal tap and MRI of the brain.

While there are many factors out of our control, there are 3 factors in our control which have been associated with MS: low Vitamin D levels, cigarette smoking, and obesity. The most common age range is 20-50, and while Selma Blair is 46 and just diagnosed, she believe she has had the disease for approximately 15 years but thought the symptoms were just from being busy or had a pinched nerve.

Blair shared a statement with the world as she became open about her disease, “I fall sometimes, I drop things, and I laugh and do not know what I will do precisely but I will do my best.”

Dr. Bitner likes to reflect on this statement because it shows she has hope in the face of losing control over her arms and legs and has gratitude-for having support, for having a job, for knowing what is going on with her body. She is sharing because she might feel like sleeping all the time, but wants to give others hope, to play with her son again, to encourage others to ask for help if they do not feel good or wonder if something is wrong with their body or health.

The statement is a reminder for normal people like us to take care of our bodies; be as healthy as possible, and seek help when something doesn't seem right.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.

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