What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? Edit
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, progressive disease involving the damage of nerve cells in the brain and in the spinal cord. The disease attacks myelin, the protective covering of the nerves, causing inflammation and often damaging the myelin. If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions, although is heavy damage is done nerve impulses may be completely disrupted. (This attack is widely thought to be accredited to an auto-immune response in which an unknown trigger causes one's immune system to attack the myelin, which causes the damage it inflicts on the nerves.)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that roots from antibodies or lymphocytes (small form of white blood cell) produced to counter materials naturally current in the body. It negatively impacts essentially the central nervous system. MS is a developing "immune-mediated" disorder. Meaning the system created to keep the body healthy, falsely attacks different parts of the body that are essential for daily occupations.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that can affect the brain, the optic nerves in the eyes, and the spinal cord. It creates and cause vision problems, issues with balance, the control of the muscles, and other simple body functions. This disease often has different effect for everyone. While one may have mild symptoms and not require treatment, another may have issues doing everyday activities or jobs. People get multiple sclerosis when their immune systems attacks a fatty material known as myelin, it wraps around the nerve fiber to preserve or secure them. Since there is no longer an outer shell, the nerves become damaged and shot and scar tissue can form.
How does MS Affect the Nervous System? Edit
With multiple sclerosis, the brain has problems transmitting messages to the other parts of the body.
MS affects the body in many ways including:
- breaks down the cover (myelin sheath) around the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord. This makes it hard for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body.
- dizziness, vertigo, depression, emotional changes, confusion, forgetfulness, tremors, seizures, and headaches, heat intolerance
- eye pain, serious blurring, double vision, and poor contrast
- slurring speech, lack of control of volume and pitch, and articulation difficulty
- coughing, choking, and trouble swallowing
- increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as strokes or heart diseases
- problems with hand-eye coordination and trouble balancing
- back pain, intense muscle stiffness, fatigue, inflammation around spinal cord, and difficulty breathing
- pneumonia or nutrient deficiencies
- prone to bladder infections and urinary track infections
- some people suffer from upset stomach, diarrhea, or constipation
- nerve damage due to the immune system attacking healthy tissue. This makes it difficult to walk, so much so, that canes or wheelchairs may be necessary.
Signs and Symptoms Edit
Vision problems are one of the symptoms most commonly found in MS. Inflammation alters the optic nerve and tampers with the central vision, causing blurry, double, or loss of vision.
Tingling or Numbness
MS modifies the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. Meaning that it can distribute inconsistent movements all over the body. Sometimes no movements are sent, resulting in numbness to the face, arms, legs, and fingers.
Pain and Spasms
Chronic pain, unpermitted muscle spasms and muscle stiffness are all also are a very common symptom with MS. The legs and back are the most vulnerable to uncontrollable, painful jerking movements.
Fatigue and Weakness
In the early stages of MS, and unknown fatigue and weakness affect around 80 percent of the people.
The symptoms are usually visual changes in the person. Some signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include:
- Blurred vision
- Thinking problems
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of balance
- Weakness in an arm or leg
-Muscle weakness or spasms
-Poor bladder or bowel control
-Issues focusing or remembering
People from the ages between 20-40 often begin to experience these symptoms. Usually, people with the disease go through relapses which is when the disease gets much worse. This often happens during recovery when the symptoms get better. Sometimes, people continue to get worse over time.
There is no test to show if that someone has Multiple Sclerosis and there are many conditions with symptoms that can seem like MS. There are neurologists that specialize in treating the disease. They will do a few tests to see if your brain and spinal cord are working properly. These include:
- MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Spinal taps/ lumbar puncture (to check the fluid that runs through your spinal column)
- Evoked potentials (electrical tests) to see if MS has affected your nerve pathways
- Blood tests
-Looking at the medical history of the patient is also a way to suspect or even detect multiple sclerosis
-Ceberal Fluid Analysis
There is no cure for MS, only treatments that focuses on speeding up recovery from attacks and slowing down the progression of the disease. These treatments make life more enjoyable and bearing for the patients. The treatments for Multiple Sclerosis are the following:
- Corticosteroids: a medication which reduces nerve inflammation
- Plasmapheresis (plasma exchange): a procedure during which the liquid and solid part of the blood cells are seperated, the liquid portion extracted and injected with beneficial proteins, and returned back into the blood cell to perform functions.
-Certain drugs (Disease-modifying therapy -DMTs aim to slow the progression of the disease, steroid medication, complementary and alternative medicine (homeopathic/ natural medications or therapies) - CAM, etc.
There are different medicines you can take for MS, but so far there is still no cure.
- Injectable medications
- Avonex (interferon beta-1a)
- Betaseron(interferon beta-1b)
- Copaxone(glatiramer acetate)
- Extavia(interferon beta-1b)
- Galatopia(glatiramer acetate -- generic equivalent of Copaxone 20mg dose)
- Plegridy (peginterferon beta-1a)
- Rebif (interferon beta-1a)
- Oral medications
- Aubagio (teriflunomide)
- Tecfidera(dimethyl fumarate)
- Infused medications
- Lamtrada (alemtuzumab)
- Novantrone (mitoxantrone)
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