Multiple Sclerosis

This essay has a total of 2194 words and 11 pages.


Multiple Sclerosis









The Inside Disease

Multiple Sclerosis affects 350,000 people around the United States. Judy Rhamini, a
forty- six-year-old mother of two, was diagnosed with the crippling disease in 1988. In
late 1997, her attacks had become so devastating that one of them left her arms and legs
temporarily paralyzed. To combat the attacks, Mrs. Rhamini began a four- hour daily
regimen of intravenous steroids. Within weeks, her pain was gone. Judy Rhamini now takes
Avonex, which is a beta- interferon, and since beginning this treatment, she has only had
two mild attacks. With advances in the medical field, there is now hope that a cure for
multiple sclerosis will be found in the near future.

Many new drugs are being developed to stunt the progression of multiple sclerosis. Some
of these new drugs are being used today, and they are helping patients cope with the
hardships of multiple sclerosis. Judy Rhamini tells how Avonex has helped her; “My
MS has definitely slowed down. I am so grateful.” However, to find a cure,
scientists still have to come to a distinct conclusion to what causes this disease. The
only way to rid a patient of this horrible disease is to attack the main culprit
responsible for bringing the disease upon a person.

Although scientists are not totally sure, there are many possibilities as to what causes
multiple sclerosis. Scientists feel that there are two main possible causes for multiple
sclerosis: the environment in which a person lives, and Herpes Virus 6. Experts are not
totally sure, but they are working out the problems, and are confident they will find the
answer soon. Some viruses have been thought to be a cause, but it usually comes down to
the environment in which a person lives.

Speculations have been made that the environment in which a person lives, may be a cause
for multiple sclerosis. There are approximately 350,000 Americans with MS, and estimates
suggest that there are two hundred new cases diagnosed each week. With this in mind, it
would make a person think that America is the environment to blame, and this just might be
the case. Researchers have found that the further one lives from the equator, the more
likely one is to develop multiple sclerosis. Obviously, there has to be more causes for
multiple sclerosis. There is no way one can develop a disease solely by living in a
certain area. In addition to the environment, viruses common in the area may also bring
on this disease.

In the past, many viruses have been linked to multiple sclerosis. The latest and
strongest case has been Herpes Virus 6 (HHV-6). In a recent study, more than 70 percent
of the patients tested showed signs of active infections of HHV-6. This made scientists
and doctors feel as if they had found the cause, but they still did not have the 100
percent sure results they needed. The cause is still unknown, because HHV-6 may only be a
symptom of multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis has many symptoms, and scientists fear
that their latest discovery may just be that, an unfortunate symptom that patients will
have to suffer with.

Multiple sclerosis is not an easy disease to put a finger on. Patients are often
misdiagnosed, and are forced to cope with their symptoms until they are finally diagnosed
correctly. Multiple sclerosis has many symptoms, some physical and some mental. The
physical symptoms may be more difficult of the two to deal with.

Multiple sclerosis can be diagnosed with the occurrence of many physical symptoms. Some
debilitating physical symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be change in vision, abnormal
sensations throughout the body, and muscle weakness. Symptoms appear to patients in
attacks and / or phases. Symptoms can appear and disappear in a matter of days or weeks.
Many of the main physical symptoms go into remission for some time, but many may be
permanent. Remember, most patients become paralyzed as the disease progresses. Along
with physical symptoms, multiple sclerosis can bring on many mental changes to a person.

Multiple sclerosis brings on many problems to the mental capabilities of a patient.
Multiple sclerosis can force a person to go through psychological changes that can be
devastating to a person’s life. These changes can totally alter a patient’s
personality, thereby causing problems throughout even a patient’s family. These
changes and cognitive impairments can make a family feel as if they do not even know their
loved one any longer. These symptoms may be seen from the outside, but the real damage is
taking place inside a patient’s body and mind. These devastating effects are enough
to make any person’s jaw drop.

The harmful effects multiple sclerosis has on a patient can be degenerating and
irreversible. Multiple sclerosis can tear a family apart, just as the way the disease
destroys a patient’s body. The disease is a heartless machine that will crush
anything that gets in its way. The immune system is usually the first victim of the wrath
of this horrifying disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that deteriorates a patient’s muscular and immune
systems. Multiple sclerosis is an auto-immune disease where cells use their weapons
against the myelin sheath, T-cells that protect our immune system, and destroy them.
Effects like this leave 30 percent of victims bound to a wheelchair after fighting the
disease for twenty years. In addition to damaging the physical aspects of a
person’s life, multiple sclerosis also attacks a patient’s brain. The disease
actually severs nerve fibers in the brain, and that causes irreversible damage. This
damage may cause a patient memory loss, the loss of cognitive skills, and even change a
patient’s personality. With these mental and physical changes, a patient’s
normal family life may be changed around, and problems may be caused.

Multiple sclerosis can put many unwanted pressures on family life. A patient struggling
with MS may encounter many psychological changes. These changes may alter the
patient’s memory, and his or her attitude towards the rest of one’s family.
These variations may make a family feel as if they do not even know their loved one
anymore. Multiple sclerosis can also put stress on a marriage. The spouse of a patient
may begin to feel as if he or she were “being on call”, or the MS patient may
feel as if he or she were “being a bother.” These effects can put a strain on
a couple’s normal emotional life. This disease may also put a strain on a
family’s financial situation also. With the average annual cost for services and
drugs being between $20,000 to $25,000, the prices of care taking can put a huge damper on
a family’s checkbook. Medicines can account for about half of that cost, with the
average annual cost for medications being around $10,000. Yet the prices for medications
will still increase with the development of new drugs.

Although a cure has not been found for multiple sclerosis, researchers are developing new
drugs to treat the disease each and every day. Traditional drugs have been around for a
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