Columbus, OH,
22:18 PM

NBC4: OhioHealth MS Physician Talks About Disease After Actress Shares Diagnosis

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and millions around the globe are battling multiple sclerosis. In just the last few weeks actress Christina Applegate came forward explaining her fight with the disease. OhioHealth system medical chief of neuroimmunology and multiple sclerosis, Jacqueline Nicholas, MD, talked with NBC4 about the disease, and how it impacts people at the local level.

"Our own immune system, our white blood cells that are there to protect us from infection, turn on us, and mistakenly thinks the surface of our neurons and our brain and spinal cord are foreign invaders, they attack and can lead to problems," Dr. Nicholas said.

Those issues can range from person to person but traditionally they are not sudden in the onset of the disease.

"They would typically be severe blurring of vision or numbness and weakness in the body. There can also be trouble with balance," Nicholas said.

While this disease can impact anyone, it tends to lean towards specific people, and age groups too.

"MS can impact anyone but two or three times more likely in women than men. Onset is usually in the 20's to 30's, but typical age in diagnosis is 20-50, with 5% in children. There is a slight genetic component, but that is very small," Dr. Nicholas said.

Dr. Nicholas said it is very important to seek out a professional diagnosis over reading online about symptoms.

"You need to listen to your body, if something is different, reach out to your primary care physician, and if you are having severe symptoms you should go to the emergency department,” she said.

As for treatments, there are many treatments on the market now for MS. There are pills, injections, and infusion therapies as well. 

If you would like to see the story from NBC4 click here.

And to learn more about the MS programs with OhioHealth, click here.