Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

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Introduction
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the nervous system. It is primarily an inflammatory disorder of the brain and spinal cord. People diagnosed with MS may have a variety of symptoms that can include: weakness, tremors, tingling, numbness, loss of balance, vision impairment, paralysis, impaired thinking, neuropathic pain, and bladder or bowel problems. Patients may also experience memory loss and depression. There is no current cure for MS, but there are promising interventions to assist those diagnosed lead a healthier, more productive life.
Definition
Nerves in the human body are coated with a protective covering called myelin. The myelin sheath on the nerve fibers speeds the transmission of impulses
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Even at the very early stages of MS—for instance, after a clinically isolated episode of inflammation in the brain, optic nerve, or spinal cord—drugs may be an option ("Multiple Sclerosis," 2007).
Over the past several years, the approach to MS treatment has focused on initiating therapy at an early stage. This is done to try to stop the inflammatory process and the resultant tissue damage to the nervous system. Therapy is also started early to decrease the risk of future disability. Although the currently available therapies are effective and safe, they do not work 100 percent for everyone all the time. Therefore, after you begin therapy, it remains important to monitor your disease to confirm that your treatment is working as intended ("Multiple Sclerosis," 2007).
Early intervention, education, ensuring the services that are available can be provided, and support for the patient and family are all necessary for the successful treatment of MS patients. These are services that social workers have the skills to
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The chronic disease of Multiple sclerosis (MS) is not a new disease. Its effects on the brain were described in the 1830s, and it was identified as a distinct clinical entity in the 1860s. In fact, writings from the middle ages appear to describe individuals with this condition. MS is the most common neurological disorder of young adults; there are approximately 350,000 people with MS in the United States and an estimated 2 million patients worldwide (Joy & Johnston, 2001). When the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) was founded in 1970 it was dedicated to improving lives today through ongoing support and direct services to individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners ("Mission and Overview," n.d.). Today after years of research and study there is still no cure however, the advances in patient support and treatment has grown exponentially. Social workers are an integral part of the interdisciplinary treatment team that can provide relief for patients and families diagnosed with MS. The variety of symptoms can include: weakness, tremors, tingling, numbness, loss of balance, vision impairment, paralysis, impaired thinking, neuropathic pain, and bladder or bowel problems, and memory loss and depression. Each patient must also be treated on an individual basis with an attentive ear

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