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A closer look at Multiple Sclerosis - I

Last Wednesday marked the sixth annual occurrence of World MS Day, an event organized by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and its various member societies to raise awareness about a very serious disease currently affecting over two million people around the globe.

The overarching goals of World MS Day are to raise awareness about the daily difficulties faced by those diagnosed with MS and to provide comprehensive information about the disease itself.

The theme of this year's World MS Day was equality of access, meaning organizers focused a majority of their efforts on the ongoing fight for MS sufferers to have equal access not just in the physical sense, but the social, economic and political sense as well.

In honor of World MS Day, today's post -- and a series of future posts -- will take a closer look at MS, providing basic information that can help the public better understand the condition.

Multiple Sclerosis: General information

MS is a disease of the central nervous system characterized by something called inflammatory demyelinating condition. This essentially means that the disease damages and destroys myelin, which is a fatty-like substance that insulates the body's nerves. (By way of illustration, envision the covering found on most electrical wires.)

Myelin facilitates the rapid transmission of nerve impulses, which in turn enables the smooth and coordinated body movements we otherwise take for granted. When myelin is lost due to MS, however, it serves to disrupt the rapid transmission of these nerve impulses and leads to the onset of symptoms, which will be discussed in future posts.

Those sites in the brain and spinal cord where myelin is lost actually form a series of scars, hence the term multiple sclerosis, which translates into many scars.

To be continued ...

If you have been diagnosed with a debilitating condition like MS that has left you unable to work, consider speaking with an experienced attorney dedicated to helping secure the Social Security disability benefits to which you may be entitled.

Source: Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, "About MS: What is MS?" June 2014; Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, "World MS Day 2014," May 2014  

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