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Multiple Sclerosis

<Multiple sclerosis is a disease occasioned by degeneration of the central nervous system. Affected nerves are situated in the spinal cord and the brain. Myelin is important for perpetuating the health of nerves. Myelin offers the nerves some insulation and cover. This promotes the conduction of impulses among the nerves.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis patients suffer a reduction of myelin. This slows down the transmission of electrical impulses along their nerves. Additionally, their nerves suffer damage. The more their nerves get affected, the more the interference of nervous system functions progresses.

People between the ages of 20 and 50 are commonly diagnosed with this condition. Nevertheless,  multiple sclerosis  cases have also been reported in children and the elderly. Caucasians are also more susceptible to MS compared to other peoples. During their early stages of life, women tend to be twice as prone to this inflammation disease as men.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

This immune system disorder results from unknown causes. Multiple sclerosis genome studies have been conducted in the last two decades. The role of the immune system as the body’s defense mechanism is highly regulated and organized. Any aggression or foreign body is met by a defensive response from the immune system. The defense is mounted once the intruders have been identified, This is then followed by tactical withdrawal.

The defense process relies upon urgent communication amongst the immune cells. This leads to production of cells capable of handling the intrusion threat. Recent studies highlight risk factors posed by a foreign body associated with the  multiple sclerosis  reality. Researchers suspect that a virus induces immune system alterations. The immune system then perceives myelin as a foreign body and attacks it.

This attack by the immune system on the very tissue it ought to protect is termed as autoimmunity. Multiple sclerosis is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Although some nerves recover from the attack, some become demyelinated  or stripped bare of myelin covering. Scarring may then appear followed by deposits of some substance into the scars which then forms plaques.

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system. It affects areas such as the spinal cord and the brain. It damages the myelin sheath which protects the nerve cells by forming a protective cover around them. Such damage mars the communication efforts between the brain and the body. This in turns results in multiple sclerosis symptoms which may include:

  • Visual disturbances or blurred vision
  • Muscle spasms, stiffness or limb weakness
  • Difficulties in balance and coordination
  • Memory and thinking problems.
  • Urinary problems
  • Sensations that may include prickling of pins or needles and numbness.

The disease is usually characterized by mild symptoms. However, some individuals may lose writing, walking, or speaking ability. These symptoms may also range from mild to severe in intensity. The patients may also experience singular or multiple symptoms that last for brief or extended periods. Other symptoms may include:

  • Depression or maniac depression
  • Paranoia or an uncontrollable urge to weep or laugh
  • Speech impediment
  • Loss of sensation, tremors or dizziness.

Multiple Sclerosis  occurs in a broad range of strains and widely varying symptoms. This means it may go undiagnosed for months or even years from the onset of symptoms. Neurologists prefer to take into account the patients history in details before performing complete physical and neurological exams.

  • MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) scans performed using gadolinium are helpful in the description, identification and dating of brain lesions or plagues.
  • To determine if impulses traveling through the nerves are moving too slowly or normally, an electro-physiological test, that evokes potential is used to examine the nerves.
  • Inspecting the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain may shade some light on antibodies or cells. This may involve a spinal tap. The antibodies or abnormal chemicals may identify  multiple sclerosis.

These three tests can collectively be used by physicians for  multiple sclerosis  diagnosis. At least two unique changes on the MRI or symptomatic events over time are required in the early signs diagnosis. These events must be determined in two separate locations on the Central Nervous System. Both should be possible to demonstrate on the neurological or MRI exam.

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Many factors come into play when considering multiple sclerosis treatment both for the doctor and the patient. Some treatment goals may include:

  • Shortening the recovery time after attacks. (treatment involves using steroid drugs).
  • Controlling the frequency of attacks or regularity of MRI lesions.
  • Curtail disease progression by employing disease modifying drugs or DMDs.

Another treatment goal involves relief from disease complications. Such complications may be associated with loss of normal function of the affected organs. This involves using drugs targeted at specific symptoms.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis

Upon the diagnosis of remitting, relapsing  multiple sclerosis,  most neurologists will consider DMDs drug treatment. Several neurologists will commence treatment upon the onset of the first attack of multiple sclerosis. This follows indications from clinical tests that show early treatment in some patients as more beneficial compared to delayed treatment in others.

Since DMDs vary in function, patients are advised to consult their doctors before going on therapy. For instance one DMD may be employed in slowing down progressive disability.  The same DMD may be inappropriate for treating the first MS attack. Another DMD may be helpful in reducing disease relapse but of no use in slowing the progression of disability.

Support groups and counseling sessions may also be productive for patients and families directly affected by MS. Once treatment goals are set, medications used in the initial therapy may manage symptoms, attacks or both. It is critical for the patient to understand the potential drug side effects. This is because the side effects alone have been known to deter the patients from drug therapy.

Patients have the option of taking or avoiding the drugs altogether. Alternative drugs accompanied by fewer side effects may also be available. To secure the treatment needs of the patients, ongoing dialogue about medication is essential between the patient and physician.

Multiple sclerosis is now managed by drugs that have known effects on the immune system. Formerly, corticosteroids like prednisone (liquid PredDeltasone, Orasone) or methylprednisolone (Depo)-Medrol, Medrol) were used widely. However, because of their non-specific or general effect on the immune system they may lead to several side effects. Currently, corticosteroids are employed in the management of severe attacks of  multiple sclerosis  that may cause pain or lead to disability.

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