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Multiple Sclerosis and Aging

By March 25, 2015Aging in Place

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease that affects mostly younger adults. Often times this disease is diagnosed at the ages of 20 through 50. However, there is no cure for it. The disease does not suddenly go away by the time you reach 65. Also, there have not been too many studies on MS as we age, so there isn’t a whole lot of information out there. This is what we do know.

What Is MS?
It’s a disease that affects the central nervous system. It disrupts information from the brain to other parts of the body. For example, one day you may be walking when suddenly your balance becomes disoriented. Walking is something you’ve been able to do since you were a small child. Now, all of a sudden you’re having difficulty with it because your brain can’t send the proper messages. It can be very debilitating.

What Causes It
As we just said, MS is a disruption of signals from the brain to the rest of the body. To be more specific, these disruptions occur when the immune system attacks the myelin that protects the neurons. Neurons are the connectors and transmitters in the brain and the myelin is what protects it. However, no one knows why the immune system suddenly begins to attack a part of the body that has always been present. Through the years, scientists and researchers have been able to determine what immune cells do the attacking, but there are no new findings on why they do it.

Living With MS As You Age
Most older adults will admit that as you age with MS your freedoms become limited. They require more assistant care, and they feel like they’re aging faster than the average person. Specific plans had to be made when dealing with travelling and spontaneous decisions could not be made as frequent for those with MS. However, life expectancy is not severely lowered after you’ve been diagnosed with MS.

There are treatable options and activities you can do to age better with MS. One of those things is exercise. Along with general well-being, exercise can help those with MS in multiple ways. It grants more strength, lessens depression, and more control over one’s bladder and bowel movements. Unfortunately, not much has been written on MS as you age, however as the numbers continue to grow, and our aging population increases, this will be an issue that needs to be brought to the light. The mysteries surrounding Multiple Sclerosis need to be solved.

Image Credit – http://www.nursinghomeabuselawyerblog.com/files/2014/02/elder_abuse-4-hands.jpg

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