Multiple Sclerosis - Disease of Nervous System
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease which affects our nervous system - brain, spinal cord and nerves. It damages the myelin sheath that protects our nerve cells which later slows down the functioning of our brain producing mild to severe symptoms like muscle weakness, weak memory, sensation of numbness in the body, visual disturbances and even paralysis. It is unpredictable neurological disease as the severity of disease vary from person to person.
CAUSE FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS)
MS mainly affects women of age group 20 to 40 years than men. Cause for MS is unknown, however it is believed that several factors are involved for the development of this disease.
1) Immunologic disease - MS is considered as autoimmune disease because in this disease immune system attacks our own healthy cells. In other words, body mistakenly attack itself.
2) Genetic factor - The diseases is also thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual however MS is believed to be hereditary disease. If either of parent has MS there is high chance of having their child born with MS.
3) Environmental factors - Studies have shown that exposure to some of the environmental factors like diet, exposure to industrial toxins, or exposure to toxins in water or soil may predispose a person to develop MS later in his life. by a combination of one or more environmental factors.
4) Infectious agents - Several virus or bacteria like Epstein Barr virus, herpes virus, chlamydia bacteria and others are believed to trigger the MS symptoms, however it has not effectively proven.
5) Smoking - Researchers have found that people who smoke are more likely to develop MS than who do not because smokers have more brain lesions than non smokers.
STAGES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS:
People with multiple sclerosis usually experience one of the four stages of disease.
A) Relapsing Remitting MS - In this course, usually the disease start with the first attack followed by almost complete recovery. Second attack may occur after weeks, months or year, again followed by complete relief of symptoms.
B) Primary-progressive MS - In this pattern, some people develop gradual decline on physical activity with no remission of symptoms, with mild relief from physical ailments.
C) Secondary-progressive MS - In this pattern, a person becomes disable, with occasional relapse of symptoms with no recovery.
D) Progressive Relapsing MS - This is rare type of pattern, where progression of disability occurs from onset of disease, with acute relapses and sometimes recovery.
Determining in which course the patient is present is very important to determine the further treatment.
Signs and symptoms
All patients do not get all the symptoms, as they vary from person to person. Symptoms may be persistent or may stop after certain period of time. Some common symptoms are - fatigue, weakness, bladder and bowel dysfunction, poor muscle coordination, imbalance, numbness, tremors, blurred vision, slurred speech, sexual problems, and depression.
Diagnosis of MS
Neurological examination along with patients medical history would help to determine some neurological damage. However para clinical examinations like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the common diagnostic tool for MS . Spinal tap and blood investigations also help to diagnose the case. These investigations mainly help to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for MS
Various treatment options are available today to delay the relapses or decrease the disease progression. There are 6 FDA approved medications for MS which significantly proves beneficial to the patients. Other that these medications, rehabilitative and psychological approach and alternative treatment options are also involved in treatment management of MS patients.
The treatment of MS is evolving and has changed drastically since last couple of years. Whatever the treatment may be , the main outcome should be better quality of life for the patients.
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