Jamie-Lynn Sigler's confirmation that she has multiple sclerosis was part of her bid to challenge perceptions of the disease as completely debilitating. The Sopranos actress joins a number of high-profile people talking about their experiences of MS to raise awareness of the disease, its effects, and what can be done to manage symptoms.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing fatigue, problems with vision, muscles spasms and problems with balance, thinking and learning, among other symptoms. There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed with a variety of treatments.
High profile people living with MS
High profile people living with MS
1/5 Jack Osbourne
The son of rocker Ozzy Osbourne was diagnosed with MS in 2012 after losing vision in one eye and experiencing numbness in his legs. He described the news as “the scariest moment in my life” but said he made a number of changes to manage the condition. “I now know that life doesn’t end when you’re diagnosed with MS; I’d just become a father so I was determined to not be beaten by it. But learning to adapt can be a real challenge.”
2/5 Richard Cohen
The author and journalist was just 25 when he was told his symptoms were MS. Now aged 54, he has secondary progressive MS and blogs about the illness, coping issues and clinical trials.
3/5 Teri Garr
The Academy Award-winning actress was diagnosed with MS in the 1980s but did not reveal her condition until 2002. She is now an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "I'm telling my story for the first time so I can help people,” she after confirming her diagnosis. “I can help people know they aren't alone and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because, today, treatment options are available. The Academy Award-winning actress was diagnosed with MS in the 1980s but did not reveal her condition until 2002. She is now an ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "I'm telling my story for the first time so I can help people,” she after confirming her diagnosis. “I can help people know they aren't alone and tell them there are reasons to be optimistic because, today, treatment options are available."
4/5 Joan Didion
The celebrated literary journalist was diagnosed with MS in the 1960s.
5/5 Montel Williams
The Emmy-winning US chat show host was diagnosed with MS in 1999. Williams told Oprah he would cry with pain during commercial breaks until he learned psychological techniques to manage the pain. I bundle up the pain and keep it in a box,' he said. "Put it away, dampen it down over here so I can deal with other things."
Ways of managing symptoms of MS include drug-based therapies, holistic therapies, undertaking exercise, changing diet and undergoing physiotherapy.
Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack was diagnosed with MS at the age of 26, shortly after becoming a father.
He described the news as “the scariest moment in my life” but said he would start drug treatments and make changes to his lifestyle to manage the symptoms.
“I got really sad for about two days, and after that I realised, being angry and upset is not going to do anything at this point - if anything it's only going to make it worse," he said at the time. "Adapt and overcome' is my new motto."
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said diagnosis can be distressing, but there are a variety of ways to deal with symptoms.
Ms Mitchell told The Independent: “There are more than 100,000 people living with MS in the UK, and symptoms typically begin when people are in their 20s or 30s. There are a range of ways to manage the condition - from drug treatments to having access to the right support, like welfare benefits. Diagnosis can be scary, but we’re here to help. We encourage anyone looking for more information or emotional support to contact our free helpline on 0808 800 8000 or visit our website."