What is MS
MS affects approximately 2,5 million people worldwide and between 85,000 and 100,000 people in the UK alone where is the most common neurological condition in younger adults. The majority of people affected by it are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, even though there are reported cases in children as young as 10 or persons well above 50. Also, MS is a condition which affects women more than men and is extremely personalised and diverse with several types of the illness (e.g. relapsing remitting (RPMS); primary progressive (PPMS); secondary progressive (SPMS); benign etc.). The cause of MS is not yet known. Researchers are assuming a combination of genetic, environmental and other factors causes the condition.
MS is a degenerating autoimmune condition where a person’s own immune system assaults their nervous system scarring the brain and the spinal cord, disrupting the nervous signal path which allows commmunication between the brain and the rest of the body. Eventually, the messages fail to reach their destination or slow down creating multiple issues. Some of them include mobility and cognitive issues; debilitating fatigue; loss of control of the body and so on. All these physical symptoms may lead to psychosocial impacts like loss of self; the search of a new identity; the adaptation into new roles for the individuals etc.
However, some research has shown some people with MS manage to find new meaning. They manage to grow as individuals having this long-term condition as part of their self and life. People with MS have managed to become mentors for other individuals, have created new social bonds with other people and their communities living their lives in a genuinely fulfilling way.
Due to the realities presented earlier, researchers and health professionals are interested in chronic illnesses which are conditions prolonged and impact the lifes of individuals. Multiple sclerosis is one of those long-term illnesses. It is extremely important to see how this illness impacts the lives of LGBT individuals. How do LGBT persons experience MS?