The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a leading resource for the entire multiple sclerosis (MS) community, improving lives today through vital services and support. This includes supporting not only individuals coping with the challenging symptoms of MS, but also people close to them, including care partners, family, and friends.
Most individuals who develop MS are diagnosed as young adults in the prime of their life, often in one’s 20’s or 30’s. MS occurs when myelin (the protective covering to the nerves of the brain and spinal cord) along with the nerves themselves, become damaged. This damage interrupts the nerve impulses, or “messages,” between the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body.
The symptoms of MS vary greatly and often include physical, mental, and emotional problems. Common physical symptoms are numbness or loss of feeling, and for some, reduced mobility of their arms, legs, and other areas. Many individuals with MS also experience muscle spasticity, tremor, pain, severe weakness, overwhelming fatigue, blurred or double vision, as well as bowel and bladder difficulties. In terms of cognitive changes, memory and decision-making abilities are often affected. Emotional issues, especially depression, can occur as well.
MS strikes beyond the physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Financial difficulties are also quite common. Individuals with MS may face employment changes and possibly the loss of their medical insurance. Many people with MS are no longer able to afford doctor appointments, medications, necessary equipment, and urgent tests, such as a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans.
These are the reasons why MSAA has been serving the MS community through our programs and services for more than 40 years. Some of the ways MSAA assists the MS community are through the following free services:
- Toll-free Helpline, at (800) 532-7667, offers trained and compassionate consultants who help people with MS and their families adjust to living with MS and discover ways to promote better health outcomes.
- Equipment Distribution Programs provide assistive equipment for better mobility, safety, and comfort, as well as cooling equipment to help reduce symptoms for individuals with heat-sensitive MS.
- S.E.A.R.C.H™ Program assists the MS community with learning about different treatment choices.
- My MS Manager™ is a free mobile phone app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users, offering individuals a convenient and effective tool to manage the ever-changing course of their disease.
- Award-winning publications such as MSAA’s magazine, The Motivator, are easy to understand and provide important information, along with hope for the future.
To learn more about MS and MSAA, please visit us at mymsaa.org.