Hands Cradling a MS Awareness Ribbon

Five things to know about Multiple Sclerosis

March is National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month, but it is always important for patients, family members, healthcare workers, and the community at large to understand this autoimmune disorder which impacts nearly 1 million people in the United States.

To help educate, PAM Health is sharing five things for you to know about multiple sclerosis:

1. What is Multiple Sclerosis or MS?

A disease where the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, multiple sclerosis disrupts communications between the brain and body.

2. Who is at risk?

There are nearly 1 million people living with MS in the United States. While MS is not contagious or directly inherited, your genes plus a variety of environmental factors like lack of sunlight and vitamin D or smoking may increase the risk of developing MS.

This disease occurs in most ethnic groups and can onset at any age, but typically happens around 20 to 40 years of age.

3. What are the early signs of MS?

Symptoms of MS often vary from person to person and can also change over time. Some common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty walking
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Weakness from deconditioning of muscles
  • Vision problem
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Bladder dysfunction
  • Emotional changes
  • Depression

4. How is MS treated?

With medication, rehabilitation or other management strategies, many MS symptoms can be managed effectively. While MS is not a curable disease, effective strategies can help modify or slow the disease course. A person with MS will want to develop a comprehensive team of high-quality medical professionals including, but not limited to:

  • Nurse
  • Neurologist
  • Primary care physician
  • Mental health provider
    • Psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker
  • Rehabilitation expert
    • Physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech-language pathologists
  • Wellness professional
    • Personal trainer, nutritionist

5. How can PAM Health care for MS patients?

At PAM Health, we value a team approach to care. Patients have access to a team of providers to meet individual needs. The PAM Health specialists in physical medicine and rehabilitation offer neurological physical therapy to rehabilitate many conditions, including MS. In addition, PAM Health has speech therapists to treat symptoms of MS.

To find a PAM Health location with specialized care for MS treatment and rehabilitation, click here.