World MS Day takes place on 30 May every year.
This day is an important opportunity to raise awareness, share stories and campaign for those affected by multiple sclerosis (MS).
Over 2.3 million people have a diagnosis of MS worldwide.
MS is a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability, and although certain symptoms can be mild, it is a challenging and unpredictable condition.
The theme for World MS Day 2020, which will span through to 2022, is “connections”. At its core, the theme coined #MSConnections is about building community connections, self-connection and connections to quality care for those facing a multitude of challenges as a result of MS, a goal which reaches far beyond the day itself.
The importance of human connections are always important, but perhaps even more so as the world continues to battle with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Isolation and loneliness has been accentuated as a result of lockdown regulations. According to research by MS Society UK, three in five people with MS feel lonely because of their condition, meaning striving towards a stronger sense of togetherness has never been more important.
World MS Day aims to challenge social barriers, “that leave people affected by MS feeling lonely and socially isolated. Together, we advocate for better services, celebrate support networks and champion self-care”, explained the MS International Federation (MSIF).
What is multiple sclerosis?
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, multiple sclerosis, or MS as it is frequently referred to, is a chronic, unpredictable disease that impacts the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
MS can cause a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance.
It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, meaning the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the CNS.
Most people tend to be diagnosed in their 20s and 30s, although it can develop at any age.
It's about 2 to 3 times more common in women than men.
MS is 1 of the most common causes of disability in younger adults.
The MSIF is inviting people across the world to share their own experiences and engage with World MS Day 2020, this Saturday (30 May) via social media by using the hashtag #MSconnections.