Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is a chronic, often debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The term multiple sclerosis means ‘many scars’, which refers to the damage that can be done to these parts of the body. Multiple Sclerosis has no one cause, and no known cure, and sufferers experience a variety of symptoms, and respond differently to the treatments available. In Australia, more than 26,000 people live with MS. Three quarters of sufferers are women, and the average of diagnosis is around 30 years of age, making it very much a ‘young persons’ disease’.
Although MS can present without any visible symptoms, there are some to look out for that can be categorised to certain parts of the body:
- Central: fatigue, depression, unstable mood
- Visual problems
- Mouth: trouble swallowing food, slurring or stuttering
- Senses: tingling, burning, pins and needles
- Urinary: frequent urination or problems urinating
- Digestive problems: constipation, diarrhoea
If you have any of these symptoms for a prolonged length of time, then it is important that you consult your GP for advice.
August is the month of the famous MS Readathon, which has been operating for more than 40 years. The MS Readathon combines two great things; reading, and helping others! By simply registering at https://www.msreadathon.org.au/home, logging every book your child reads during August, and asking friends and family to sponsor your child for the books they read, your child, your whole family or even their whole school can raise vital funds needed for MS sufferers. Funds raised contribute greatly towards much needed support services for MS patients and their families, including MS Fun Days and camps which provide families with quality time together, as well as time with other MS patients, to compare experiences and share part of their journey together.
Studies suggest that there is some genetic link that can make a person more susceptible to MS, but has not been proven to have be directly inherited. EasyDNA Australia understands that MS is a debilitating condition, and that people may want to discover their chance of developing it during their lifetime.
The Genetic Predisposition Test screens for a number of diseases and medical conditions, including multiple sclerosis. After ordering, you will receive a home sampling test kit, with everything you need to undertake a mouth swab test from the comfort of your own home!
By analysing your unique DNA sample, the results will reveal whether you have a genetic predisposition to developing MS, and will also indicate your overall risk of developing MS compared to the average population. After analysing your DNA, EasyDNA Australia creates a personalised report that will reveal your estimated lifetime risk (low, medium, or high) of developing MS. Combined with being aware of your body and any changes or symptoms that may be worrying you due to their frequency, the Genetic Predisposition Test is a great step forward in optimising a healthy future. August is a great time to ‘read between the lines’, be a champion of your own health, and that of people with MS all over Australia.