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Multiple Sclerosis Affects 180 Madeirans

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that affects about 180 people living in the archipelago of Madeira.

Raising awareness and alerting to the disease are the objectives of an exhibition titled ‘My Invisible Multiple Sclerosis,’ recently inaugurated at ALRAM.

“Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, specifically the brain and spinal cord,” said the President of the Madeira Association of Multiple Sclerosis (AMEM).

Nélio Olim took advantage of the moment to warn of the signs of the disease. “Among the most common symptoms are severe fatigue, which is not simply ordinary tiredness, but a burnout that can be debilitating, and is often misunderstood by others who deal closely with patients,” he said.

Blurred vision or loss of vision in one eye, muscle stiffness, spasms, and weakness in the limbs are other frequent symptoms that make “daily tasks, such as walking, climbing stairs or even holding objects, a real battle.”

The president of AMEM also warned of the psychological impact of the disease. “The uncertainty of the prognosis, since the progression of the disease is unpredictable, can lead to anxiety and depression.”

AMEM’s mission is “to create inclusive work environments, offer psychological support, and facilitate access to treatments and therapies,” and therefore has the support of the Regional Government.  However, the institution would like to see its volunteer work done within the social area recognised further.

The President of the Social Security Institute highlighted the importance of the itinerant exhibition that “aims to raise awareness of the 12 most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis.” Micaela Freitas explained that “the Regional Health Service supports 180 patients,” through “a team composed of a doctor, a nurse, and a neuropsychologist.” Suffers need daily care to control the progression of the disease and the symptoms, and to prevent outbreaks.

The President of the Legislative Assembly of Madeira stressed that the exhibition “has the power to present the symptoms of the disease, but also elucidates how it is treated.” José Manuel Rodrigues highlighted the importance of the Regional Government’s support for the work that these institutions develop and praised the volunteers who “help those who are suffering from this chronic disease.”

The exhibition ‘My Invisible Multiple Sclerosis’ is on display at the Legislative Assembly of Madeira until the 5th of June and admission is free.

Samantha Gannon

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The Madeiran Parliament receives daily visits from schools, social institutions, tourists and the general public. The exhibition ‘My Invisible Multiple Sclerosis’ is another information service about the disease, and is part of the Cultural Parliament, which aims to bring the Legislative Assembly of Madeira closer to the population.

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