Almost everyone has heard the term multiple sclerosis. Often shortened to MS, it refers to a disease that affects the brain and nervous system. There are a number of things that aren’t yet fully understood about it, but scientists have made great progress in researching the condition in more recent years. In fact, there was a time when being diagnosed with MS was practically a death sentence. Today, there is still no cure for the disease, but it is possible to manage it and its associated complications far more effectively. The truth of the matter is that a person can have MS without you ever even knowing that they are suffering from the condition. If you have doubts about that fact, you may be interested to know that there are a number of celebrities who suffer from it. Below is a list of 20 celebrities who do, along with some important facts and background about the disease itself.
What Causes MS?
According to the Mayo Clinic, MS is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body begins to attack the protective covering, or sheath, that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Although the entire process isn’t yet well understood, scientists believe that there are a number of factors that could potentially contribute to the disease. What is understood so far is that it essentially makes it more difficult for signals to get from a person’s brain to other parts of their body. Some people experience severe symptoms, even to the point of being confined to a wheelchair and others experience symptoms that are much more mild. Of course, it is possible for someone who has experienced moderate to severe symptoms of MS to go into remission where they have a period of relative calm that doesn’t see the disease progressing a great deal. By the same token, it’s also possible for an individual who has traditionally experienced fairly mild symptoms to have a setback where those symptoms suddenly become far more severe. As is the case with most diseases, the key to managing MS as effectively as possible is early detection and careful management. The sooner that you get diagnosed, the easier it is for effective treatment to be started that could potentially mitigate the symptoms, even though it isn’t possible to cure the disease itself. By the same token, carefully managing the disease and taking care of oneself is a key component of following its progression as much as possible.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the earliest signs of multiple sclerosis can easily be mistaken for other diseases. This is one of the reasons that it is so frequently missed. Some of the earliest symptoms may include pain throughout the body, numbness and vision problems. By the same token, a person may find it difficult to concentrate on things or may even have bladder issues that can’t be explained and haven’t occurred before. At times, movement may be difficult or there may be a tingling in the extremities that can’t be explained or relieved. Of course, not everyone suffers from all of these symptoms and in some cases, they don’t present with hardly any of the classic symptoms.
Celebrities Who Suffer From MS
As previously mentioned, there are a number of celebrities who suffer from the disease. Some have symptoms that are more severe than others. There are several notable celebrities who work on a routine basis and appear to be perfectly healthy. As a matter of fact, you will probably be surprised at some of the names on this list. Here are 20 of them who are affected by multiple sclerosis.
1. Alan Osmond
You might recognize this name as the individual who is one of the founding members of the Osmond family, individuals who have been performing for decades. Years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of multiple sclerosis. Although he has struggled with the disease from time to time, he has also managed it fairly well, especially given the fact that it’s not as common as the type of MS that strikes most people. Therefore, doctors have had to work extra hard to keep the condition in check as much as possible.
2. David Osmond
David Osmond is Alan Osmond’s son and he was diagnosed with the most common form of multiple sclerosis when he was only 26 years of age. Much like his father, he has struggled with bouts of the disease that were far more severe at times than others. That said, he too has managed to keep it in check fairly well. In fact, both father and son are still very active in the performance arena and by all accounts, it seems that they have plans to continue their endeavors for as long as possible.
3. Art Alexakis
You may be familiar with this name through the band that he fronts, Everclear. He was diagnosed in 2016 and chose to openly share that fact with his fans three years later. As it turns out, he wasn’t diagnosed until he was involved in an automobile accident. He went to the doctor complaining of numbness, believing it was a direct result of the automobile accident, only to find that he actually had MS. He was also told that he had had the disease for anywhere from ten to twenty years without even knowing it.
4. Ann Romney
The wife of politician Mitt Romney, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as far back as 1998. She has remained active throughout her entire diagnosis, and has in fact made it her mission in life to bring awareness to the disease as much as possible. To that end, she works tirelessly to make others aware of it and raise money for additional research in hopes of one day finding a cure.
5. Teri Garr
Actress Teri Garr was also diagnosed with the disease quite some time ago, back in 1999. She never said anything about it publicly until 2002 but has since that time worked to make others more aware of it. She also says that she felt symptoms of the disease as far back as 1983. At the time, she didn’t know what it was but she did notice that there were times when she didn’t feel well. Once she was diagnosed, she was able to put it all together and realize that she had probably had the disease for several years before she was ever diagnosed with it.
6. Neil Cavuto
If you watch Fox News, then you already know who Neil Cavuto is. In addition to battling with MS, he’s also suffered from a number of other health problems, many of them quite serious. He’s also a survivor of stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
7. Montel Williams
Talk show host Montel Williams went public with his diagnosis in 1999. At the time, he said that he had been suffering from the disease for 20 years before he ever went public. He also said that it took the first 10 years of that time for doctors to diagnose him correctly. Unfortunately, he was misdiagnosed with a number of other diseases during the first 10 years so he didn’t receive proper treatment until much later.
8. Jamie Lynn-Sigler
Fans of the television show “The Sopranos” will recognize her. She was diagnosed a few years ago and says that at the time of Her diagnosis, she had been suffering from the disease for 15 years. A lot of people don’t realize that she struggles with it but she says that she can’t run, nor can she walk for long periods of time. She also says that she struggles with stairs and she has to consciously think about every step in order to make that effort in order to get from place to place because her muscles simply don’t work as well as they used to.
9. Jack Osbourne
A lot of people are familiar with Jack Osbourne’s diagnosis. What you may not know is that he was diagnosed when he was only 26 years old, in 2012. He says that so far, he’s doing great. He stays active, exercises a lot and practices martial arts. He credits all of these things for helping him stay healthy and keep the flare-ups at bay.
10. Selma Blair
Actress Selma Blair was only diagnosed a few short years ago. Unfortunately, her symptoms have been more severe than a lot of other individuals on this list. She can still walk, but she must use a cane in order to do so. She also says that she has to make a conscious effort to move her body and that it almost feels like her brain is on fire at times. At the same time, she says that the rest of her body is always cold, even to the point of shivering.
11. Christina Applegate
Christina Applegate is another actress that has just recently made it public that she suffers from the disease. At the moment, she says that she prefers to keep the details of her diagnosis private in order to have more time to process everything.
12. Janice Dean
Television meteorologist Janice Dean has also shared her struggles with multiple sclerosis. For her, the journey has been just as much about educating the public about the disease and standing up for the rights of those who suffer from it as anything else. She says that her main symptoms are numbness and extreme exhaustion, yet she chooses to push through on a daily basis.
13. Walter Williams
Singer Walter Williams has been battling the disease since 1983. He chose to keep his diagnosis a secret during the height of his career, but now, at age 77, he is far more open about sharing the details surrounding it. He says that he exercises and eats right in order to keep it in check. In addition, he’s learned what aggravates it and how to avoid those triggers as much as possible.
14. Clay Walker
Country music artist Clay Walker was diagnosed in 1996. At the time, doctors told him that he would no longer be able to walk within four years. In fact, they expected him to be dead in less than 10. Today, he’s not only still alive, but still recording music and touring. He also spends a great deal of his time raising money for awareness and research related to multiple sclerosis.
15. Joan Didion
Author and screenwriter Joan Didion was diagnosed with the disease years ago. She may have MS, but she doesn’t allow it to slow her down. As a matter of fact, she is now 82 years old and still as active as ever.
16. Rachel Miner
Miner is best known for playing Meg in the television series “Supernatural.” She also served as a screenwriter on the show. She was diagnosed with the disease in 2009 and left the show in 2013 in order to spend more time focusing on her overall health.
17. Noah Shebib
You may not be familiar with this individual’s name by itself, but you might know him as Drake’s music producer. He was only 22 years old when he was diagnosed. That was several years ago and he’s only recently started taking medication for the disease in order to better control his symptoms.
18. Trevor Bayne
Bayne is known to NASCAR fans as the youngest person to ever win the prestigious Daytona 500. He was also diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as far back as 2013. So far, he’s managed to keep the condition in check and even still competes at the elite level.
19. Richard Pryor
Late actor Richard Pryor was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1990. Unfortunately, his condition was quite severe and he ended up in a wheelchair only four years later. That said, he continued to manage the symptoms of the condition fairly well from that point forward until his death in 2005. It’s worth noting that he died from a heart attack which is believed to be unrelated to his MS diagnosis.
20. Annette Funicello
Late actress Annette Funicello was diagnosed with MS in 1992. She battled the disease until her death at 70 years old, in 2013. Although details are not widely known to the public, it is known that her death was sadly caused by complications of the disease.