Multiple Sclerosis: Jack Osbourne, Joan Didion and other high profile people living with MS

Jamie-Lynn Singer is the latest actress to talk about being diagnosed with MS 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

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. 

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."