Patients experience a wide range of early onset symptoms of the disease, but people will typically notice changes in their vision, especially when feeling overheated, and numbness, tingling and other strange sensations in their limbs and extremities. Others will experience pain or changes in their bladder function and memory.
Osbourne told People Magazine he was diagnosed with the disease after he lost 60 percent of his vision in his right eye.
"The good news is that we have eight different treatments as a way of managing the disease," said Dr. Tim Coetzee, chief research officer with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. "We have another three looking for approval from the FDA right now and three or four in late-stage clinical trials."
The advances offer options to help modify the disease and ease symptoms of decreased mobility and nerve function. Drugs like natalizumab are used to prevent flare-ups and inflammation.
Doctors recommend that patients begin treatments as early as possible, as that is when the medication is most effective in delaying and reducing events and onset, Coetzee said. Otherwise, patients are encouraged to maintain a vigorous, active lifestyle and a positive outlook.
"It's important to maintain a healthy but pragmatic approach to this disease," said Coetzee. "As with anything, we don't know where we will be in the future with this disease, but even just 30 years ago, there were so many unknowns. While there still are unknowns, there is a lot more we know about symptoms and treatments and a lot more knowledge to build a foundation on."