Christina Applegate’s MS: Here’s why early symptoms are often overlooked

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Christina Applegate's MS: Here's why early symptoms are often overlooked
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Actress Christina Applegate apparently overlooked early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) before being diagnosed last summer while filming the third and final season of ‘Dead To Me,’ which will be released on Netflix on November 17.

“I was diagnosed while we were working,” the Emmy winner recently told Variety during an interview.

“I had to call everyone and say, ‘I have multiple sclerosis, guys.’”

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She added: “And then it was kind of a learning curve – we all learn – what I was going to be able to do.”

The 50-year-old rose to fame as the silly girl in the raunchy TV comedy “Married…With Children,” but continued to show off her versatility performing from shows like “Friends” to popular films like “Anchorman.”

Christina Applegate attends Netflix’s ‘Dead To Me’ Season 1 Premiere at Broad Stage on May 2, 2019 in Santa Monica, California.
(Presley Ann/Getty Images)

For her work, she is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 14.

She talks about her early signs and symptoms of MS.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease of the brain and spinal cord, which together form the central nervous system that controls everything we do, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Although the cause of the disease is unclear, something triggers the immune system to attack the nervous system, the group also said.

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This attack on the nervous system damages the protective outer covering of nerve fibers, known as myelin, as well as the nerve fibers themselves.

This Image Provided By The Us Department Of Health And Human Services Shows An Illustration Of The Outer Layer Of The Epstein-Barr Virus, One Of The Most Common Viruses In The World.  New Research Has Shown Stronger Evidence That Epstein-Barr Infection Could Put Some People On The Path To Later Developing Multiple Sclerosis.

This image provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services shows an illustration of the outer layer of the Epstein-Barr virus, one of the most common viruses in the world. New research has shown stronger evidence that Epstein-Barr infection could put some people on the path to later developing multiple sclerosis.
(US Department of Health and Human Services via AP)

Nerves send electrical signals that help us feel sensations and move muscles in the body.

MS disrupts the transmission of these nerve signals between the brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Every MS patient’s experience is different.

“This disruption of communication signals causes unpredictable symptoms such as numbness, tingling, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness and/or paralysis,” notes the company on its website.

However, each patient’s experience with MS is different.

Signs and symptoms

“Multiple sclerosis should be suspected when a younger person develops neurological symptoms,” said Dr. Jai S. Perumal, assistant professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.

She links it to “the way you suspect a stroke when an older person” develops neurological symptoms.

Most people with MS show symptoms early in adulthood, usually between the ages of 20 and 40, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Most Ms Patients - In Addition To Experiencing Vision Problems - Also Experience Muscle Weakness In The Arms Or Legs And Difficulty With Balance Which Can Become So Severe That They Have Trouble Walking Or Walking. Stand.

Most MS patients – in addition to experiencing vision problems – also experience muscle weakness in the arms or legs and difficulty with balance which can become so severe that they have trouble walking or walking. stand.
(Stock)

A common early symptom includes vision difficulties, such as blurred vision or even blindness in one eye, the same source added.

Most patients also experience muscle weakness in the arms or legs and difficulty with balance which can become so severe that they have trouble walking or standing.

“MS can manifest as isolated loss of vision, numbness, tingling in the face [and] double vision, which typically lasts for days, not hours or minutes,” said Dr. Michael G. Ho, assistant clinical professor of neurology at UCLA in California.

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Applegate said she “slept all the time” after her diagnosis and used a wheelchair to get around on set because it was difficult to walk, according to Variety.

Symptoms are subtle, often missed

But these symptoms are nonspecific and subtle, so they may initially be overlooked by patients.

“About half of all people with MS suffer from cognitive impairments such as difficulty concentrating, paying attention, remembering and poor judgment, but these symptoms are usually mild and are often overlooked,” according to the website. from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

“Sometimes when symptoms are mild and people recover fully, they may decide not to see a doctor.”

Applegate remembers having balance issues while filming a dance sequence on the first season of “Dead To Me” before he was officially diagnosed, according to The New York Times.

“I wish I had paid attention to it,” she told the publication. “But who was I to know?

She later noticed that her tennis game was starting to suffer, but she didn’t link it to a medical issue, the same report notes.

Christina Applegate Attends The 25Th Annual Critics' Choice Awards At Barker Hangar On January 12, 2020 In Santa Monica, California.

Christina Applegate attends the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California.
(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

But Applegate’s experience may be common to other MS patients.

“Sometimes when symptoms are mild and people make a full recovery, they may decide not to see a doctor because they attribute it to a number of causes, including ‘pinched nerve’, stress, etc,” Perumal told Fox News Digital.

Some cases, however, can result in partial or complete paralysis, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke noted on its website.

Most patients experience temporary numbness, tingling, or tingling sensations.

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Applegate told The Times she began having numbness and tingling in her extremities which worsened for several years before she was finally diagnosed last year.

Other characteristic symptoms include pain, difficulty speaking, tremors or dizziness.

A diagnosis of MS

“A diagnosis of MS is made based on the results of the MRI,” Perumal added. “A lumbar puncture is only necessary if the MRI is inconclusive.”

A patient with MS may only have symptoms temporarily, and then these symptoms partially or completely disappear over time. But then they can “relapse”.

“An MS exacerbation (also known as a relapse, attack, or flare-up) is the appearance of new symptoms or the worsening of old symptoms,” according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“Current treatments work best when used early in the course of the disease.”

The relapse must last at least 24 hours and occur at least 30 days after the previous attack, with other causes – such as infection – being ruled out, the organization added.

“A relapse of MS is any neurological symptom, such as numbness, weakness, vision problems or impaired walking, among others, that appears and lasts for a few days or weeks” – then gradually fades, said Perumal.

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“A patient with MS may have a normal examination between relapses.”

Current treatments are effective

The doctor noted that today there are very effective treatments for MS.

“Our current treatments work best when used early in the disease course. They are very good at preventing further injury and maintaining function, but they are not good at reversing injury sustained over time. years,” she said.

The doctor added: “If there’s one takeaway, it’s optimal early treatment.”

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“People are going to see me for the first time as a person with a disability, and it’s very difficult,” Applegate told Variety.

“I’m trying to understand – and I’m also grieving for the person I was,” she added.

Fox

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