Benign Multiple Sclerosis is probably the one type of MS that a person would want should they ever develop this disease. Why? Because when you have this type, you may live for 10 years or more and only experience very mild symptoms and very slow progression, if any. One study estimated that 10% of people with MS will have a benign form. The symptoms you have may be those that are mostly invisible, like fatigue, cognitive or mental issues, and depression. If you have this type of MS, more than likely, you can still walk and you have remained stable for 20 to 30 years.
Because the symptoms are so mild, doctors may even forgo recommending treatment until you begin to progress. They may not even give you a definite diagnosis of MS because Benign MS is a controversial form of multiple sclerosis without approved treatment options. You may feel that the mild symptoms justify some type of treatment, but without a diagnosis, medicines specifically for MS may not be available to you.
Even with this mild form, you may be stuck in a place where you are still suffering and frustrated with the lack of answers to your questions. Should you push for a diagnosis and treatment? Or should you leave well enough alone? Should you try non-traditional or alternative treatments like diet and supplements like vitamin D3, B 100 Complex, and Omega 6? Or should you just wait until the disease eventually progresses to the point where you have noticeable physical disability? What do you do?
Hopefully, if you have Benign Multiple Sclerosis, you have a doctor who is willing to work with you. If he or she is skeptical that you even have MS, it would probably be wise to find someone who will listen, work with you, and help you come up with a way of dealing with your type of MS. Every patient deserves to be heard, and Benign MS patients are no exception.
According to a study done in 2012, at least half of those with this type of MS will go on to develop a more progressive form of the disease within 10 years. For that reason, many feel that the term Benign is not even a real term when it comes to MS. For those who do recognize that this form exists, they are able to tell by the changes in genetic patterns of people with Benign MS. And this is where I can come to a brick wall as far as understanding what those changes mean.
If you would like to read more about the study, here's an article - http://www.msdiscovery.org/news/new_findings/3727-benign-ms-expresses-itself – that can hopefully clear things up for you, if you're into that sort of thing. I for one, am still in the dark about the scientific reasons why some doctors recognize this form and some don't. I will accept the fact that researchers have found a “genetic-activity pattern” which expresses itself in those with this type of MS. I'm sure more information will come forth as they continue to do more research in this area. So stay tuned.
Here's another article - Understanding Benign MS - hope it helps!
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Cir & Akrista
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