Welcome to March, when BioPlus joins the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation in celebrating the National MS Education and Awareness Month. There’s a lot to understand about this chronic and often unpredictable disease of the central nervous system.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease resulting in damage to the myelin sheath that surrounds nerves. Nearly 1 million people in the United States have multiple sclerosis. Women are about three times as likely as men to have this disease. Most people with multiple sclerosis experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20-50.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include altered vision, muscle weakness, pain, numbness, tremors, and balance problems. Symptoms can vary for each person with multiple sclerosis; with some having very mild symptoms while others become disabled by this disease. In addition, the symptoms can come and go, with flare ups lasting days, weeks, or months. The cycle of flare ups and remissions serves as an additional challenge to both diagnosis and medication compliance in this disease model.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis can be tricky since there’s not a single test that establishes a diagnosis. Instead, a diagnosis is built on reviewing a patient’s medical history, neurologic exams, and lab tests (including an MRI, evoked potentials, and spinal fluid analysis).
As upsetting as a diagnosis of MS can be, many patients actually experience some relief at finally knowing what is causing their symptoms after months or even years with no diagnosis. Getting support from loved ones, a support group, or a therapist can be important in adjusting to a new diagnosis.
While a cure remains elusive, there are now solid treatment options for MS patients.
BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy is available to help you and your patients throughout the MS treatment process.