In the United States, multiple sclerosis is the top neurological disease disabling young adults. MS, as it is more commonly known, is a disease that destructs the covering of the nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord, the central nervous system.
This can cause the body to react with numerous symptoms such as spasticity, movement disorders, fatigue, bladder and bowl dysfunctions, pain, depression and cognitive difficulties. MS is potentially debilitating, possibly resulting in damage to the nerves themselves, something that is irreversible.
In the early stages of the disease, MS can be difficult to diagnose due to the irregularities of symptoms, which can sometimes disappear for months. Ultimately, MS can affect an individual’s ability to walk and speak clearly.
The cause of MS is unknown but seems to be the result of many factors. It has been acknowledged that MS is the result of an abnormal response from the auto-immune system directed to the myelin, the fatty sheath that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers, in the central nervous system.
Latinos and MS
The disease mortality rate among Latinos is lower than that among Caucasians, found a comparative study. One of the major reasons as to why Latinos with MS will increase in the United States is because of the population growth.
However, one study among low-income New York residents with MS found that they had a hard time accessing appropriate health care, with about a third of them never treated by a specialist or receiving proper drug therapy.
As is common among the immigrant generation, language, stigma and lack of health insurance are significant barriers to mental health services, resulting in insufficient use of mental health care.
Those Latinos with MS have spoken out about the challenges with the disease. One of them being their family and the lack of understanding from others who are unfamiliar with the disease.
It can be exhausting for someone to repeatedly explain the condition to those who have multiple questions regarding the disease. Side affects from drug therapy that use steroids can cause weight gain, among other issues, which might be the source of questions, teasing or taunts.
Having extended family that is as close as those in your immediate bunch can be rewarding, but may also come with those issues of having to explain. Patience is a virtue. By taking a breath and explaining the issues, you are also educating and asking for support.
Having family back up is crucial for the care of the individual and the more information you have, the better to help others understand.