A Hollywood actress known for her roles in hit comedy sitcom Friends, as well as TV series Dead to Me, Christina Applegate took to Twitter today (Tuesday August 10) and wrote that she had been diagnosed with the condition most commonly affecting women in their 20s and 30s.
But Applegate, who is 49-years-old, is proof that the condition can affect those of any age.
Here’s what you need to know about the actress and what multiple sclerosis is.
Who is Christina Applegate?
Known for her roles in TV and film comedies such as Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and more, Christina Applegate has led a successful Hollywood career since childhood.
The star rose to fame as a child actress appearing in the US sitcom, Married...With Children, between 1987 and 1997 before becoming the lead role in Jesse, for which Applegate later received a Golden Globe nomination. later earning an Emmy Award for her role as Rachel Green’s sister Amy in Friends.
As well as being one of the founding members of US pop group The Pussycat Dolls, Applegate auditioned for the lead role of Rose in Titanic in 1996.
She has appeared in a wide range of romantic comedy films alongside stars like Cameron Diaz, Ben Affleck and Matt Dillon and played the eponymous role in award-winning comedy series Samantha Who?
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition which sees communication between the brain and body become strained and slowed down by the immune system attacking the brain and spinal cord, which make up the body’s central nervous system.
As the immune system attacks the brain, the insulation protecting nerves known as myelin is eroded – with messages from the brain to the body disrupted as a result.
This erosion of myelin causes tingling sensations, blurred vision, difficulty moving and fatigue to occur as common symptoms of the condition.
Further symptoms include pain, blindness, a loss of balance and mood changes.
There are two types of MS, with the most common type being relapse remitting multiple sclerosis which sees unpredictable individual attacks and relapses occur over prolonged periods of days and weeks in between periods of remission.
According to the NHS, multiple sclerosis is between two to three times more common in women than men and one of the main causes of disability in young adults.
While there is no cure for the disease there are different forms of treatment for MS patients, including short courses of steroid medicines for those with relapse remitting MS. You can find out more about the condition, symptoms and treatment at the NHS website here.
What did the actress say about her MS diagnosis?
Applegate, posting on her Twitter account on Tuesday, said that her multiple sclerosis diagnosis had been a “strange journey” and a “tough road” so far.
She wrote: "Hi friends. A few months ago I was diagnosed with MS.
"It’s been a strange journey.
“But I have been so supported by people that I know who also have this condition.
"It’s been a tough road. But as we all know, the road keeps going.”
In a second tweet, Applegate added: “As one of my friends that has MS said “ we wake up and take the indicated action”. And that’s what I do.”
She went on to ask for privacy “as I go through this thing”.