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Actress Selma Blair shines spotlight on MS

March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month, and a well-known actress has been bringing a lot of attention to the condition.

Selma Blair, known for starring in movies such as "Cruel Intentions," "Hellboy" and "The Sweetest Thing," recently revealed that she was diagnosed with MS in August 2018 after visiting a doctor for what she thought was a pinched nerve.

Since her MS diagnosis, Blair has not shied away from the spotlight. In late February, she made headlines when she attended the Vanity Fair Oscar party looking stunningly beautiful and using a patent leather cane for assistance walking.

Over the next few days, Blair was interviewed by "Good Morning America" and Vanity Fair about her battle with the disabling condition. She says she began experiencing symptoms after her son was born in 2011.

In her "GMA" interview, Blair said that she struggled to get doctors to take her symptoms seriously for years. It was a relief to finally get a diagnosis after an MRI in 2018, she said. She was relieved to finally know what was causing her flare-ups and to have the opportunity to get treatment.

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the body's central nervous system and involves the immune system attacking nerve endings. This causes an interruption in the messaging between the brain and the body, which results in disability.

MS causes many symptoms, including fatigue, which is most common, as well as sensory and motor issues such as numbness or tingling, difficulty walking, weakness, feelings of stiffness, vision problems, dizziness, bowel problems and pain. Emotional changes and depression are also common in people with MS.

MS flare-ups are believed to be caused when there's a new patch of inflammation on the brain or spine. This causes symptoms to suddenly worsen or new symptoms to show up over a period of a few days. Like with most chronic illness, however, every person experiences MS slightly differently.

Although there is no cure for MS, the disease's symptoms and progression can often be managed with treatment.

Blair said that she is sharing her story to help others. She also wants people to know that it's OK to ask for extra help on hard days, and she shares stories on her social media pages about those who help her.

You can read more about Blair's story here.

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