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Home > MSAA Publications > Solutions for Wellness: A Guide to MSAA's Programs and Services - Second Edition > Providing Details...

Providing Details...

on MSAA and MS

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Founded in 1970, the Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) is a leading resource for the entire MS community, improving lives today through vital services and support. MSAA provides ongoing support and direct services to individuals with MS, their families, and their care partners. Overseeing MSAA's activities is a national Board of Directors comprised of accomplished professionals from across the country, volunteering their time for MSAA. Providing medical consultation is MSAA's Chief Medical Officer, who reviews all of MSAA's medical information and chairs our Healthcare Advisory Council. MSAA meets all criteria of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and is in the exclusive group of national charities awarded the BBB Accredited Charity Seal.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disorder diagnosed in young adults. In the United States, approximately 400,000 people have MS. It is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, affecting the protective covering (myelin) that surrounds the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. The nerves (axons) may also be affected. MS is not contagious and usually does not shorten life expectancy. Researchers continue to seek a cause and a cure.

Individuals with MS may experience one or more of a variety of symptoms, such as visual changes, fatigue, numbness, bladder issues, and changes in mobility. However, MS affects each person differently, and with the availability of new treatments, many are experiencing fewer and less severe symptoms. Initially, most individuals with MS experience periods of symptom flare-ups (exacerbations), followed by periods of remission. A smaller population of individuals has a progressive form of MS, characterized by a slow but steady accumulation of symptoms. Additionally, heat intolerance is a classic MS trait, where a rise in temperature (internally or externally) may temporarily increase symptoms.

As of early 2013, nine medications had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the long-term treatment of relapsing forms of MS. Taken individually (not in combination with one another), five disease-modifying therapies are given through self-administered injections (Avonex®, Betaseron®, Copaxone®, Extavia®, and Rebif®); two treatments are administered via intravenous infusions at a medical facility (Novantrone® and Tysabri®); and two medications are administered orally (Gilenya® and Aubagio®). Many additional drug therapies are in development.

Please call MSAA's Helpline at (800) 532-7667 or visit www.mymsaa.org for information and support.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 February 2013 12:44