Have you recently been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis)? Did your healthcare professional paint a picture of doom to try to manage your expectations? Is there hope for the future of your condition?
While a cure has not been discovered for Multiple Sclerosis, well documented improvement is now possible after much research on how to slow progression.
Has anyone overcome Multiple Sclerosis?
A prominent question which may have been incorrectly answered by a healthcare professional resounds. “Can I overcome my Multiple Sclerosis completely?” There have been several cases studied to show not only a slowed progression, but also an improvement or removal of symptoms.
An emergency technician in an Australian hospital is no stranger to the Multiple Sclerosis disorder. George Jelinek endured an unfortunate series of events for a wealth of improvement resources to emerge. George’s mother Ava Jelinek was diagnosed shortly after a car accident with Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, one of the more severe forms of the condition. After 16 years of watching Ava’s decline and feeling inept, George lost his mother when she took her own life.
Fast forward 18 years and 3 children later, and George himself was diagnosed with a progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. He experienced numbness in both legs as well as his waist. The story of his mother motivated him to explore every possible option to allow him to contribute more to his family and those around him despite his Multiple Sclerosis. George started a research lab at the University of Melbourne and spent the rest of his career studying documents from forgotten clinicals. After applying his learnings to his personal lifestyle, he found some outstanding results.
From his research, George determined a few key points to abating his symptoms with Multiple Sclerosis. He found that regular exercise and substantial diet changes allowed George to live a life free of concern for his symptoms. He shifted many of his meals to fish and other foods which contain high levels of fatty Omega-3 acids. He read several studies which confirmed that patients who consumed less trans-fats lived longer and showed less deterioration in the spinal cord. These studies, combined with the memory of his mother’s legacy, motivated George to practice every method he found possible to slow his progression. Another key factor he found to personally help was maintaining an exercise schedule, in his case swimming and biking.
George’s battle to overcome his diagnosis was not brief. He pursued his diet and exercise goals daily for seven years before realizing his symptoms were COMPLETELY GONE. Today, George helps patients across the country conquer Multiple Sclerosis through literature, coaching, and speaking engagements to promote awareness for the improvement of symptoms.
Many advancements in the field have been completed due to support from community members like yourself. One community which has proven influential for research and adaptation is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Many events hosted by the Society include yearly Walk MS events, an annual Ambassadors Ball in Washington, DC, and Finish MS events which see participants bike, swim, and run to show their support. To see more ways you can be involved with this organization, visit the Get Involved page with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Many have taken the time to research why Multiple Sclerosis has come about. Just why did the condition develop in the first place? Historians and scientists have long pondered this question, but they do have a few key facts that may point to the answer.
Origin of Multiple Sclerosis
The exact cause of Multiple Sclerosis is still unknown, but three main explanations for its onset have been subscribed to. One possibility is the reaction of the immune system to a virus or other agent. During the process of fighting off such an attack, the immune system mistakenly damages the myelin. Another cause could be the intentional destruction of unhealthy brain cells spreading to destroy other healthy cells. The most common and oldest explanation is that the immune system misinterprets brain cells as foreign.
Several factors have been linked to heightened MS susceptibility:
- Family History
- Insufficient blood flow to brain
Numerous studies have pointed to the effect vitamin D has in reducing susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis. This is produced predominately through exposure to sunlight and explains why regions in warmer climates experience lower rates of Multiple Sclerosis. Regions such as the United States and Canada often experience more cases due to the less frequent intake of vitamin D producing sunlight. Another factor which has been tested to reduce susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis is related to one’s lifestyle.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet help prevent Multiple Sclerosis, while smoking has been proven to increase the risk for a diagnosis. Cases in smokers typically experience a higher number of damaged myelin, and this manifests itself in a more rapid progression of the condition.
Your family history may influence your susceptibility to Multiple Sclerosis. While genetic history is not the only determining factor, those with relatives who have the condition are documented to be more likely to be diagnosed as well. The most severe illustration of this principle is seen in twins. In the instance where one twin is diagnosed, there is approximately a 30% probability the sibling twin will contract Multiple Sclerosis as well. While these are several factors which explain increased probability, scientists continue to research the exact nature of the cause.
Blood flow restriction:
Evidence shows that when the barrier between the brain and the spinal cord is disrupted, the immune system may regard the new brain cells it contacts as foreign. This would explain why the myelin cells are attacked. While research is still being conducted to determine the cause of Multiple Sclerosis, the search is also being conducted for better recovery processes.
Studies continue to push the boundaries of treatment and promise new breakthroughs.
Research is currently showing that breaking down the immune system through the use of chemotherapy and replenishing the immune system with one’s own cells reduces future attacks on the myelin.
Research is also being done to find ways to restore spinal tissue in Progressive cases of MS. Scientists hope to be able to reverse the progression through significant advancements in the development inside mitochondria.
Through the use of historical data and clinical trials, treatments for MS have made substantial progress to increase the quality of life after diagnosis. Many oral treatments, injections, and prototype drugs will continue to alleviate the struggles of this auto-immune disorder.
Gilenya is the most common oral medication taken for Multiple Sclerosis. It is designed to reduce relapses and may slow the heart rate during the first few doses. Tecfidera is another common oral drug used to reduce the number of relapses. It often causes flushing or nausea. While oral treatments are enough to slow progression in many cases, others require intravenous treatment.
Ocrevus is one such injection which has been shown to slow progression in both Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis as well as the Progressive manifestation. Injections typically take place every 6 months, and they may affect blood pressure or cause a slight fever. Other injectable treatments are available. However, most other injectables are forgone because of their tendency to increase risks of related conditions.
Another treatment available to current patients with Multiple Sclerosis is plasma transfusion. During this process, plasma is extracted from the blood and the portion deemed damaged is discarded. Once the blood has been replaced with new plasma, it is placed back into the circulatory system. This process of plasmapheresis is typically recommended for cases of extreme flare-ups.
Examples of medications which are still being explored include myelin-defending drugs which shield these cells from attack and help them recover more quickly.
While you may be wondering what your future with Multiple Sclerosis may look like, many have paved the way to allow your condition to minimally affect your daily life. In the case of Professor Jelinek and thousands of others, exercise and dietary changes are perhaps the best method to reduce and ultimately abate symptoms. Additionally, several forms of treatment are available to medically inhibit the progression of your case. As you continue to navigate your life after diagnosis, we are happy to help show you the best path to take to secure life insurance with Multiple Sclerosis. Visit the Contact Us page to speak to one of our professionals today.