Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS is a condition which mostly affects the brain and the spinal cord. This disease is a lifelong condition which is prevalent among of people of age 20 – 40. It can also affect younger and older people. Multiple Sclerosis affects a wide range of potential systems which include problems with vision, sensation, arm or leg movement and balance. It can also lead to serious disability, however it can be mild occasionally and it is possible to treat the symptoms of this disease in many cases.
Multiple Sclerosis can be diagnosed at any age. But stat shows that it is mostly prevalent among people in their 20s and 40s. This disease is three times more common in women than men. According to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, more than 400,000 people in the United States and about 100,000 people in the UK are suffering from this disease. Globally, about 2.5 million people are suffering from MS, with about 200 new cases diagnosed each week in the United States.
Causes of MS
Multiple Sclerosis is known as an autoimmune condition. This means that this disease comes as a result of something being wrong with the patient’s immune system and attacks a healthy part of the body mistakenly – which is usually the brain or the spinal cord.
This disease affects the layer which protects the nerves known as the myelin sheath. It damages and scars the sheath and the underlying nerves thereby disrupting or slowing down the messages that are traveling through these nerves. Experts believe that genetic and environmental factor may contribute to what makes the immune system to act in this way.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
- There are 4 types of MS which include;
- Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
- Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis
- Primary-progressive multiple sclerosis
- Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is a very complex disease and has many symptoms. However, most people that suffer from this disease will not experience all the symptoms at least not at the same time.
The major symptoms of MS include:
- Muscle Stiffness
- Thinking Problems
- Urinary Problems
- Blurred Vision
- Muscle Spasms
- Difficulty in Walking
- Problems with Balance and Co-ordination
- Tingling or Numbness in Various Parts of the Body
Depending on the type of MS a patient has, the symptoms may come and go in phases.
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
MS currently has no cure, however there are number of treatments that can be used to control this disease which will depend on the specific symptoms of the patient.
The treatments include:
Physical therapy along with mobility aid is used to treat symptoms of MS which includes problem with leg movement.
Muscle stiffness or spasms is one of the symptoms of MS. In this case, muscle relaxants such as baclofen and tizanidine are used to reduce the stiffness.
Other treatments of MS attacks include
Corticosteroids such as intravenous methylprednisolone and oral prednisone are used to reduce nerve inflammation in MS patients.
Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis)
This type of treatment is used when the symptoms are new, severe or are yet to respond to steroids. It involves removing the liquid part of patient’s blood plasma and separates it from blood cells. The cells are then coated with albumin (protein solution) and put back into the body of the patients.
Treatment options for relapsing-remitting MS include
In this type of treatment, patients are injected under the skin or into the muscle with Beta interferons in order to reduce the severity of relapses.
This medication is prescribe to MS patient to reduce the rate of relapse
This is a medication use in treatment of MS patient to block the passage of potentially damaging immune cells from the patient’s bloodstream to his brain and spinal cord.