Peking Union Medical College Hospital held a public health education session on multiple sclerosis, as well as a free health check, aiming at making this rare disease "invisible in life" for Chinese patients.
The disease, known as MS, is a disease chronic condition that can affect the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves in the eyes. It can cause problems with vision, balance, muscle control, and other basic body functions.
According to Xu Yan, the hospital's associate chief physician in the Department of Neurology, about 30,000 people in China have the disease, and most of them are women.
"The patients are usually aged between 20 to 40, and the number of female patients is double the number of male patients," Xu said. "Compared to western countries where cases are common, Chinese lack knowledge about MS, which may have caused misdiagnoses."
She added that it often takes more than one year for patients to decide to go to the hospital because the symptoms are mild at the beginning and they think they can make it through on their own.
"In western countries, there are many types of medicines for MS and most patients can be helped at the very beginning," she said. "We hope that people in China get more knowledge about MS and can be treated in the early stage."
If a patient can be confirmed with MS in its early stage, they can get medicine that can control the disease well. In this way, the disease's effect on patients' lives could be less.