Advocates of multiple sclerosis are working to raise awareness about the disease in hopes of erasing the social stigma that often comes after being diagnosed.
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord, and there is no known cure, medical experts said.
On Tuesday, Jack Osbourne, 26, son of Ozzie and Sharon Osbourne, announced he has MS, prompting global support from advocates and people diagnosed with the disease.
Hoosier Tim Johnson has MS and said he applauds Osbournes announcement.
"By (Osbourne) accepting it and coming out and talking about it, it's going to help other people who have been recently diagnosed, Johnson said.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society serves 8,000 Hoosiers, but spokeswoman Amanda Shelley said thousands more keep it a secret from loved ones and co-workers.
"It's very scary because MS affects each person differently, and so while there is certainly no shame in the disease, it's sometimes hard to prepare people for what they might expect, Shelley said.
Medical advances have brought better drugs to slow down the progression of MS and prevent flare-ups, RTV6s Stacia Matthews reported.
Dr. Cynthia McGarvey with St. Vincent Health Hospital said modern medications lower the severity of the symptoms.
"Nowadays, we have some oral medications that we can try. There are a lot of trials going on and there's even a monthly (intravenous) medication. All these medications alter the immune system in order to decrease the disease's severity, McGarvey said.
Johnson said it has been two years since he had an attack and he now channels his energy to support others with MS.
"A person doesn't need to be ashamed about having the disease, Johnson said.
Doctors said that early diagnosis is crucial to start treatment and to provide the best quality of life.
For more information about MS, click here.
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