MS Awareness: Paint the Town Orange
If you’ve been downtown lately, you’ve probably seen the orange ribbons covering the Square. Orange is the color for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness. This central nervous system condition is widespread, with about 200 people diagnosed each week, but not many people know what it is or the struggle that people living with MS go through. Unless you know someone with MS, odds are you know very little about the condition, and that’s where MS Awareness comes in. Advocates for MS Awareness know the importance of learning about MS and its symptoms.
The central nervous system’s nerve fibers are protected by a fatty layer called myelin. With MS, the immune system attacks this layer and causes scar tissue called sclerosis. This can occur at multiple places along the central nervous system, which is why the condition is called multiple sclerosis. The myelin damage is akin to a frayed wire. It disrupts the signals from the brain that tell the body what to do. MS has many symptoms, and no case is exactly the same. This unpredictability makes the condition difficult to diagnose and makes customized treatment necessary.
Though for the general population, the risk of developing MS is only 0.1 percent, it is still important to know its warning signs. Common symptoms of MS early on are sudden changes in vision, numbness, tingling, loss of coordination, weakness in a limb, or heat sensitivity.
People living with MS don’t have it easy. Their day to day lives can be changed completely after diagnosis. Just some symptoms they may deal with include fatigue, pain, trouble walking, and changes in thinking. It’s not impossible to live with MS, though. Most people with the condition have a normal life expectancy, and a diagnosis doesn’t always equal a wheelchair. In fact, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, “With today’s treatments to slow the progression of MS, an increasing number of individuals remain ambulatory until advanced age”. Though more progressive MS may be more obvious to the general public, many manage their condition with no visible symptoms. These people still struggle daily, and it’s important for people to keep in mind that not all disabilities are visible.
There are many fundraisers and walks to raise awareness and funds to help those with multiple sclerosis. Though there are none currently in LaGrange, there is one coming up in Columbus. On April 7th at Golden Ball Park, many will participate in Walk MS. This walk will begin at 10 AM and benefit MS research.
If you are interested in starting your own MS Fundraiser here in LaGrange, contact The Fund Development Department at 800225-6495 or [email protected]
The author of this article can be reached via email at [email protected] troupcountynews. net.