Multiple sclerosis symptoms
Photos: iStock, Getty Images

Over the weekend, actress Selma Blair revealed that, after dealing with apparent multiple sclerosis symptoms for years, she was diagnosed with MS in August.

 

Blair, who's currently working on her new Netflix sci-fi drama, Another Life, wrote about a recent costume fitting she had for her role as Harper Glass.

 

"I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude," Blair captioned the photo. "So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show, but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis. I am in an exacerbation."

 

"I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps," Blair continued, detailing the gist of her multiple sclerosis symptoms. "But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best."

 

The 46-year-old Legally Blonde alum revealed that she was diagnosed with MS on August 16. She went on to thank friends — like actress Jaime King — and producers for their support.

 

"I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself," Blair wrote. "You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

I was in this wardrobe fitting two days ago. And I am in the deepest gratitude. So profound, it is, I have decided to share. The brilliant costumer #Allisaswanson not only designs the pieces #harperglass will wear on this new #Netflix show , but she carefully gets my legs in my pants, pulls my tops over my head, buttons my coats and offers her shoulder to steady myself. I have #multiplesclerosis . I am in an exacerbation. By the grace of the lord, and will power and the understanding producers at Netflix , I have a job. A wonderful job. I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken gps. But we are doing it . And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best. Since my diagnosis at ten thirty pm on The night of August 16, I have had love and support from my friends , especially @jaime_king @sarahmgellar @realfreddieprinze @tarasubkoff @noah.d.newman . My producers #noreenhalpern who assured me that everyone has something. #chrisregina #aaronmartin and every crew member... thank you. I am in the thick of it but I hope to give some hope to others. And even to myself. You can’t get help unless you ask. It can be overwhelming in the beginning. You want to sleep. You always want to sleep. So I don’t have answers. You see, I want to sleep. But I am a forthcoming person and I want my life to be full somehow. I want to play with my son again. I want to walk down the street and ride my horse. I have MS and I am ok. But if you see me , dropping crap all over the street, feel free to help me pick it up. It takes a whole day for me alone. Thank you and may we all know good days amongst the challenges. And the biggest thanks to @elizberkley who forced me to see her brother #drjasonberkley who gave me this diagnosis after finding lesions on that mri. I have had symptoms for years but was never taken seriously until I fell down in front of him trying to sort out what I thought was a pinched nerve. I have probably had this incurable disease for 15 years at least. And I am relieved to at least know. And share. 🖤 my instagram family... you know who you are.

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Here’s everything to know about multiple sclerosis symptoms, treatment and other famous faces currently diagnosed with MS.

What is MS?

MS is a progressive disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The cause of MS is currently unknown — but once triggered, the immune system attacks a fatty, protective layer around the nerves, called "myelin." This damage disrupts the ability of nerves to send electrical impulses to and from the brain. 

According to the National MS Society, most people with MS are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50. It affects more than 2.3 million citizens around the world, and two to three times more women than men.

Research suggests that genetics may play a role — the risk is potentially higher in families that have a history of MS — though it's not an inherited disease. It's also reportedly more common in areas located away from the equator.

The disease is not contagious.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms

MS symptoms can differ widely from person to person. Common signs are numbness and tingling of different body parts, memory loss, pain, fatigue, bladder and bowel problems, gait difficulties (trouble walking), paralysis and even blindness.

Blair revealed in her Instagram Saturday that some of her multiple sclerosis symptoms included the feeling of pinch nerves and fatigue, and she was diagnosed with MS after her doctor found lesions (areas where nerve cells are damaged) on an MRI.

Visit nationalmssociety.org for more information on less common multiple sclerosis symptoms and complications that come with the disease.

To diagnose MS, doctors must find evidence that damage occurred two different times in at least two separate parts of the central nervous system, according to the National MS Society. They also must rule out all other possible diagnoses.

Testing for MS include MRI, evoked potential (EP) tests and spinal fluid analysis.

Treatment options for multiple sclerosis symptoms

Currently, there is no cure for MS. There are a number of ways, though, to slow down attacks and maintain quality of life as multiple sclerosis symptoms progress.

Treatment involves ongoing comprehensive care that can cover all the bases — medication to manage symptoms, rehabilitation to focus on function, visits to mental health professionals, etc.

The FDA has approved a number of MS medications to reduce relapses and delay progression. Injectable medications include Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif. Oral medications include Aubagio and Gilenya.

What is the life expectancy of someone with MS?

Some MS cases may process rapidly and prove to be fatal. This, however, is reportedly rare.

People with the disease live, on average, about seven years less than those without the disease. As the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation states, MS "tends to affect quality of life, not quantity of life."

For more info, watch the following National MS Society explainer below:

Other celebs with MS

Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney, was diagnosed with MS in 1998, at age 49.

Country music’s Clay Walker and actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler also have the disease.

Jack Osbourne, son of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, was diagnosed with MS back in 2012. This year he launched a web series, You Don’t Know Jack About MS, to document his life with relapsing-remitting MS, a form of MS where you suffer from flare-ups of multiple sclerosis symptoms, followed by periods of recovery. This differs from progressive MS in which symptoms are gradual and ongoing.

"There’s a huge amount of misinformation regarding what MS is and what it does to the body," Osbourne told Metro last month. "For me, I would encourage people to educate themselves on it and understand what someone living with MS might be experiencing. Because it varies so much."

"I’m really fortunate to where my treatment plan ... works super well and I’m pretty high-functioning. I do a lot of crossfit. I surf a lot. It’s weird, because not everyone is able to do that," he admitted. "But I’m just really lucky ... I can."