Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the CNS.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society reports 23 million people in the United States are living with Multiple Sclerosis. Detecting the prevalence of the disease is sometimes challenging, as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention does not require physicians to report new cases.

However, it is important to note that some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include:

* Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs and trunk

* Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement.

* Prolonged double vision.

* Tingling or pain in parts of your body.

* Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements, especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign).

* Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait.

* Slurred speech.

* Fatigue.

* Dizziness.

*Problems with bowel and bladder function.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis vary by person. Currently, there are no symptoms or laboratory test that single handedly diagnose someone with MS. In order to make a clear diagnosis of MS, the National Multiple Sclerosis society reports a physician must:

* Find evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves and

* Find evidence that the damage occurred at least one month apart and

* Rule out all other possible diagnoses.

The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is unknown.

Anyone may develop MS but there are some patterns. Two to three times more women than men have been diagnosed with MS. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although an estimated 8,000--10,000 children under the age of 18 also live with MS, and people as old as 75 have developed it. It is important to know about MS and many other health conditions.

Visit www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee.

Upcoming events:

June 29 -- Fine Arts, Public Speaking and Demo workshop, 9 a.m., Extension Office

June 29 -- Wood Science workshop, 6 p.m. Call 653-8411 for location information.

June 29 -- Indiana Extension Homemakers County Tour.

June 30 -- Exploring 4-H Field Day, 1 p.m., Fairgrounds.

June 30 -- First-year swine member PQA class, 6 p.m., Fairgrounds.

July 4 -- Extension Office closed.

July 7 -- Cake Decorating workshop, 6 p.m., Harris Hall.

July 7-- Extension Board meeting, 7:30 p.m., Extension Office.

July 11 -- Public Speaking and Demo Contest, 5 p.m., Fairgrounds