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Christina Applegate and MS: What You Need to Know

Christina Applegate is a talented and beloved actor who has starred in many popular movies and TV shows, such as Anchorman, Married… with Children, and Dead to Me. She is also a survivor of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and most recently, multiple sclerosis (MS).

MS is a chronic and unpredictable disease that affects the central nervous system, causing problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions. MS occurs when the immune system attacks the protective coating around nerve fibers, called myelin, resulting in inflammation and damage.

In this blog post, we will explore Christina Applegate’s journey with MS, from her diagnosis to her symptoms, and how she is coping with the condition. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about MS and share some resources for people who are living with MS or want to learn more about it.

How did Christina Applegate find out she has MS?

Christina Applegate revealed her MS diagnosis in August 2021, via a tweet that read:

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. Unless some asshole blocks it.

She later opened up about the subtle signs that led to her diagnosis in an interview with The New York Times. She said that she first noticed changes in her body several years ago while shooting the first season of the Netflix dark comedy Dead to Me. She recalled feeling unbalanced while filming a dance sequence for the show. She later noticed her tennis game was not as strong, but she told herself she just needed to work harder.

I wish I had paid attention,” she said. “But who was I to know?

Over time, the Emmy winner began experiencing numbness and tingling in her extremities, hallmarks of the neurological condition. Her diagnosis finally came in the summer of 2021 when she first began filming the third and final season of Dead to Me. The show stopped production for about five months so she could begin treatment.

“There was the sense of, ‘Well, let’s get her some medicine so she can get better,’” she recalled. “And there is no better. But it was good for me. I needed to process my loss of my life, my loss of that part of me. So I needed that time.

What are the symptoms of MS and how does it affect Christina Applegate?

MS symptoms vary widely from person to person and can change over time. Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Weakness
  • Spasticity (stiffness or tightness of muscles)
  • Pain
  • Vision problems
  • Bladder or bowel problems
  • Cognitive changes (such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, or mood swings)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Difficulty walking or maintaining balance
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Heat sensitivity

Christina Applegate has not shared the details of her symptoms, but she has admitted that they have affected her appearance, her mobility, and her ability to work. She said that she gained 40 pounds due to inactivity and medications, and that she did not look or feel like herself. She also said that she uses walking sticks to help her move around, and that she could not imagine getting up at 5 a.m. and spending 12 to 14 hours on a set.

She also said that filming the final season of Dead to Me was the hardest thing she has ever done, and that she relied on the support of her co-star and close friend Linda Cardellini, who was her “champion, my warrior, my voice.

She said that acting was a way for her to grieve her diagnosis and express her emotions. “I’ve probably been going through grief and trauma my whole life, and acting was the place that I got to go to not feel it, you know?” she said. “But this time, it was the place that I got to go to feel it.

How is Christina Applegate coping with MS?

Christina Applegate is not one to give up easily. She is a fighter who has overcome breast cancer in 2008 and ovarian cancer in 2017. She is also a mother to a 12-year-old daughter, Sadie, who was by her side at the 2024 Emmys, where Applegate made a heartbreaking speech about her MS battle.

She said that she is grateful for the love and support of her family, friends, and fans, and that she is trying to stay positive and hopeful. She said that she is not going to accept her condition, but rather fight it. “Acceptance? No. I’m never going to accept this. I’m pissed,” she said.

She also said that she is learning to live with MS and adapt to the changes in her life. She said that she is doing physical therapy, meditation, and acupuncture to help her manage her symptoms. She also said that she is exploring new ways to express herself creatively, such as writing and producing.

She said that she is inspired by other people who have MS, such as Selma Blair, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and Montel Williams, and that she wants to raise awareness and funds for MS research. She said that she hopes to see a cure for MS in her lifetime, and that she believes in the power of science and medicine.

I have hope. I have hope in the doctors. I have hope in the researchers. I have hope in the people who are living with this, who are doing amazing things,” she said.

FAQs about MS

What causes MS?

The exact cause of MS is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the possible risk factors include:

  • Having a family history of MS
  • Being female
  • Being between the ages of 20 and 50
  • Living in temperate regions, such as North America, Europe, and Australia
  • Having certain infections, such as Epstein-Barr virus or human herpesvirus 6
  • Having low levels of vitamin D
  • Smoking

How is MS diagnosed?

There is no single test for MS, but rather a series of tests and examinations to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Some of the tests include:

  • Neurological exam, to check for changes in vision, coordination, reflexes, sensation, and strength
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to look for lesions or scars on the brain and spinal cord
  • Spinal tap (lumbar puncture), to analyze the cerebrospinal fluid for signs of inflammation or antibodies
  • Evoked potentials, to measure the electrical activity of the brain in response to stimuli, such as sound, light, or touch
  • Blood tests, to check for other conditions that can mimic MS, such as Lyme disease, lupus, or vitamin B12 deficiency

How is MS treated?

There is no cure for MS, but there are treatments that can help reduce the frequency and severity of relapses, slow down the progression of the disease, and manage the symptoms. Some of the treatments include:

  • Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs), which are drugs that target the immune system and prevent it from attacking the myelin. There are different types of DMTs, such as injections, pills, or infusions, and they have different benefits and risks. DMTs are usually prescribed for people with relapsing-remitting MS, the most common form of MS, which is characterized by periods of flare-ups and remissions.
  • Symptomatic therapies, which are drugs or interventions that address specific symptoms, such as pain, spasticity, fatigue, depression, or bladder problems. Symptomatic therapies can include medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, cognitive therapy, or complementary and alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, yoga, or massage.
  • Lifestyle modifications, which are changes that can help improve the quality of life and well-being of people with MS. Lifestyle modifications can include eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress, quitting smoking, avoiding heat, and staying socially and mentally active.

What are the types of MS?

MS can be classified into four main types, based on the pattern of symptoms and disease progression. They are:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), which is the most common type, affecting about 85% of people with MS. RRMS is characterized by periods of relapses, or flare-ups of new or worsening symptoms, followed by periods of remissions, or partial or complete recovery of symptoms. The relapses can last from days to weeks, and the remissions can last from months to years. The frequency and severity of relapses and remissions can vary from person to person.
  • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS), which is a type that develops in some people who have RRMS, usually after 10 to 20 years. SPMS is characterized by a gradual and steady worsening of symptoms, with or without occasional relapses or plateaus. The transition from RRMS to SPMS can be hard to determine, as there is no clear-cut marker or test. About 50% of people with RRMS will develop SPMS within 15 years of diagnosis, and about 90% within 25 years.
  • Primary-progressive MS (PPMS), which is a type that affects about 10% of people with MS. PPMS is characterized by a continuous and gradual worsening of symptoms from the onset, without any relapses or remissions. The rate of progression can vary from person to person, and some people may experience temporary periods of stability or minor improvements. PPMS is more common in men than in women, and tends to start later in life, around the age of 40.
  • Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS), which is a rare type that affects about 5% of people with MS. PRMS is similar to PPMS, but with occasional relapses on top of the steady progression. The relapses may or may not be followed by some recovery, but the disease continues to worsen between the relapses.

How common is MS?

MS is a relatively common disease, affecting more than 2.8 million people worldwide, according to the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. The prevalence of MS varies by region, with the highest rates found in North America, Europe, and Australia, and the lowest rates found in Africa and Asia. MS is also more common in women than in men, with a ratio of about 3:1.

Is MS fatal?

MS is not considered a fatal disease, but it can have a significant impact on the quality and length of life of people who have it. MS can cause complications that can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs, and increase the risk of infections, osteoporosis, and depression. MS can also shorten the life expectancy of people who have it by about 5 to 10 years, on average, according to a study by the University of British Columbia.

However, MS is not a death sentence, and many people with MS can live long and fulfilling lives with proper treatment and care. Advances in medical science and technology have improved the diagnosis, management, and prognosis of MS, and many people with MS can benefit from new therapies, devices, and research. MS is also a highly individualized disease, and the course and outcome of MS can vary widely from person to person.

Resources for MS

If you or someone you know has MS, or if you want to learn more about MS, there are many resources available to help you. Some of the resources include:

  • The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which is a nonprofit organization that provides information, support, advocacy, and research for people affected by MS in the United States. You can visit their website at, or call their helpline at 1-800-344-4867.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America, which is a nonprofit organization that provides programs and services, such as cooling equipment, assistive devices, educational events, and wellness resources, for people with MS and their families. You can visit their website at, or call their toll-free number at 1-800-532-7667.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that offers a variety of services and programs, such as home care assistance, support groups, educational materials, and wellness activities, for people with MS and their loved ones. You can visit their website at, or call their national toll-free hotline at 1-888-MSFOCUS (673-6287).
  • The Multiple Sclerosis International Federation, which is a global network of MS organizations that works to improve the quality of life of people with MS and to support the global MS movement. You can visit their website at, or contact them by email at [email protected].

We hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned something new about Christina Applegate and MS. Please share this post with your friends and family, and leave a comment below if you have any questions or feedback. Thank you for reading!

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