Mercy Neurologist Dr. Bonnie Gerecke Discusses Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Like most auto-immune diseases, multiple sclerosis is more prevalent in women than men, three times more prevalent to be exact.
While the symptoms of multiple sclerosis are not always obvious, treatments for the disease are improving.
Robin Larkins is hopeful for that.
Movement is getting more and more difficult for Larkins, who has multiple sclerosis. She has already battled melanoma and heart disease, but she said MS by far has been the hardest to fight.
"Because not knowing from day to day what your body is going to go through next (it's tough)," Larkins said. "Not knowing if you're going to be able to get up and go to the bathroom, or if you are going to be able to move a limb, or if it's not working."
According to Mercy’s Dr. Bonnie Gerecke, Director of The Neurology Center at Mercy as well as Chief of Neurology and Medical Director of Rehabilitation, an MS diagnosis can be easily missed.
"A lot of times people have symptoms for many years before they're diagnosed sometimes because they ignore the symptoms," Dr. Gerecke said. "They may tell a health care practitioner, but they are symptoms that are common."
Common symptoms can include vision loss, numbness or tingling, pain and also problems with balance and heat intolerance.
"If you've had symptoms that persist maybe more than 24 hours, something that's different than what you're used to having and really if it's just something you're concerned about, it's better to talk to your health care practitioner and let them sort out whether it is something you need to be concerned about or not," Dr. Gerecke said.
While there’s currently no cure for MS, medications to slow the progress of the disease have improved greatly over the last 10 years.
Larkins uses this injectable medication to treat her physical challenges, but the hardest challenge to overcome is the emotional one. She gets through it with the help of prayer and the occasional cry.
"It's hard," she said. "It's really, really hard."
View Mercy neurologist Dr. Bonnie Gerecke’s interview regarding the diagnosis and treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.
Additional Content That Might Interest You