Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide, and in the United States alone, about 200 new people are diagnosed each week. Those are just a couple of the many reasons why the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) recognizes March as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month.
What more do we know about MS? Doctors are unsure of the root cause of the condition, but women are twice as likely as men to develop MS. Additionally, the farther away from the equator you live, the greater likelihood you’ll experience MS – overall, your lifetime chance of developing MS is about 1 in 1,000.1
Did you know that there are four different types of MS? Each one affects people a little differently.
- Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) affects the large majority (85 percent) of MS patients, and this type features clearly defined periods when symptoms get worse and activity decreases.
- Primary-progressive MS (PPMS) causes a clear progression of symptoms and equally affects men and women.
- Secondary-progressive (SPMS) is a form of PPMS which is initially diagnosed in only about 10 percent of patients.
- Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS) is found in only 5 percent of MS patients, but these people have both clear relapses and a clear progression of symptoms.
So now that you know more about MS, what can you do to help raise awareness? Here are just a few of the ways the MSAA recommends:
- Read one of the MSAA’s publications, including the recently published annual MS Research Update, which includes the latest developments in MS treatments and research.
- Find and attend one of the MSAA’s educational events for people with MS and their care partners.
- Register for Swim for MS, which encourages volunteers to create their own swim challenge while recruiting online donations.
- Check out the Australian MS Society’s Seeing [MS] campaign, which features MS patients and photographers working together to visualize the invisible symptoms of MS.
- Share on social media using the #MSawareness hashtag and MSAA profile badge.
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