Estimated 2.5 mn people suffering from MS worldwide: Chitnis

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Mumbai, Nov 16 (UNI) There are an estimated 2.5 million people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) world-wide, of which an estimated 40,50,000 people are from India and 391 people are from Mumbai, according to Multiple Sclerosis Society of India (MSSI) National Director Sheila Chitnis.

In an exclusive chat with UNI, Mrs Chitnis said, ''MS is a disease of the central nervous system affecting its functioning unexpectedly and repeatedly resulting in devastating disabilities in young people in the prime of their lives.'' MS has various symptoms ranging from minor visual disturbance to total paralysis due to which everyday tasks can no longer be efficiently performed.

''Our bodies contain a fatty substance called myelin which surrounds and protects nerve fibres of the brain and spinal cord in the same way as insulation protects electrical wires. When any part of the myelin sheathing is destroyed nerve impulses to the brain are interrupted and distorted. The result is MS,'' she said.

''Symptoms of MS vary greatly depending upon where the sclerosed patches are formed in the central nervous system. They may include tingling sensations, numbness, slurred speech, blurred or double vision, muscle cramps, spasms and poor co-ordination among others,'' she said.

However, the good news is that MS can be treated. ''There are medications which can provide symptomatic relief for acute attack and for more chronic disease. Muscle relaxers aid in reducing spasms. The increase in awareness of MS among medical personnel and wider availability of investigations like MRI scan are helping rapid and accurate diagnosis of MS in India,'' she informed.

The Society offers a variety of services such as highly subsidised home-based Physiotherapy, free diet guidance and counselling for MS affected person and for the family to name a few.

UNI

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