Around the globe, approximately 2.3 million people live with multiple sclerosis (MS), although that number could be much higher because it’s likely that many people with MS remain undiagnosed in certain parts of the world; in the United States, about 200 new cases diagnosed each week. To bring the MS community together, raise awareness, share stories, and create positive change, World MS Day was created in 2009 by the MS International Federation and its members. Arriving May 30 annually, World MS Day involves hundreds of events held across dozens of countries. This year’s theme is “My Invisible MS,” focusing on the often unseen but very real effects MS can have on people
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
One of the most common neurological disorders and causes of disability in young adults, MS is usually diagnosed in a person’s mid-to-late 20s or early 30s, although 3-5% of people with MS are diagnosed as children and it has been known to occur in much older adults as well. The causes of the disorder are not yet known and there is no cure, but with women being twice as likely to be diagnosed as men, many believe hormones play a role in the disease process.
There are treatments available that can help some forms of MS and actions that individuals can take to improve symptoms, including complementary and alternative therapies that may relieve anxiety, depression, and pain.
How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect People?
MS affects everyone differently, from the course it takes to the symptoms it produces. For some people, MS is characterized by periods of relapse and remission, while for others it has a progressive pattern that grows steadily worse over time. Some of the most common symptoms are blurred vision, weak limbs, tingling sensations, unsteadiness, memory problems, and general fatigue.
And, despite the common belief that MS is a terminal condition, many people continue to live decades after their multiple sclerosis diagnosis.
Social Security Disability for Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is listed in the Social Security Administration’s bluebook, which defines illnesses that qualify for acceptance for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the extent to which disease must have progressed in order to qualify. For MS, the disease must have progressed to one of three points listed in their bluebook:
Loss of motor skills
Loss of sight or mental faculties
Severe fatigue when performing actions related to a job
If you meet any or all of these three criteria, then according to the Social Security Administration you qualify for SSDI.
Participating in World MS Day
While there are many World MS Day events happening around the world, if an event isn’t happening near you, you can still make your voice heard or show your support for those suffering from MS. The World MS Day site has a number of social media tools you can use to get the word out about MS, including an “invisible symptom” social media posters that allow you to post your photo and list your invisible symptom. Organizers encourage you to post using the hashtag #MyInvisibleMS and they’ll also feature you on their website’s social media wall.
To find out more about MS, get in touch with an MS organization near you or visit the MS International Federation website. And to learn more about applying for disability with multiple sclerosis or for help with your care, contact the caring professionals at Disability Experts of Florida.