We’ve found so much inspiration through our fundraiser. After the first Rock ‘n Aspire in February 2010, we’ve found a connection to so many people in Cincinnati who we learned were also affected by MS in one way or another. It is encouraging to know we are in this together with many other people, and it has made our passion deeper and our push stronger.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord). It is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means the immune system incorrectly attacks the person’s healthy tissue. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness and more. These problems may be permanent or may come and go. MS is not considered a fatal disease as the vast majority of people with it live a normal life-span. But they may struggle to live as productively as they desire, often facing increasing limitations.
How many people have MS?
Approximately 400,000 Americans have MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. World-wide, MS affects about 2.5 million people. Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not require U.S. physicians to report new cases, and because symptoms can be completely invisible, the numbers can only be estimated.
Who gets MS?
Anyone may develop MS but there are some patterns. More than twice as many women as men have MS. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it. Studies suggest that genetic factors make certain individuals more susceptible than
others, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, but is more common in Caucasians of northern European ancestry.
What is a symptom?
Symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from person to person and from time to time in the same person. For example, one person may experience abnormal fatigue, while another might have severe vision problems. A person with MS could have loss of balance and muscle coordination making walking difficult; another person with MS could have slurred speech, tremors, stiffness, and bladder problems. While some symptoms will come and go over the course of the disease, others may be more lasting.