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March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month!

MS Month_02For healthy individuals, the body’s immune system serves to protect against disease. But for those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), it actually attacks the body’s tissues. Specifically, it destroys myelin – the fatty coating on nerve fibers in the brain and spinal chord (which facilitates the delivery of electrical signals).

As a result, individuals with MS experience a wide range of symptoms. These include weakness or numbness in limbs, vision loss, tingling/pain, slurred speech, and fatigue. Such symptoms, in turn, can lead to paralysis, epilepsy, and depression.

Unfortunately, the National Institute of Health estimates that 250,000 – 300,000 Americans suffer from MS. This translates into approximately 200 new diagnoses each week. People most at risk are white females, aged 15 to 60, who smoke, live in temperate climates, and have a family history of MS.

As March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, take some time to learn about the disease and your risk factors. Contact our partner, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society!

Flickr photo credit: bombtwinz