What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition which affects patients between the ages of 20 and 40. It can affect men or women, with a higher incidence for women. Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the brain and spinal cord.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the body’s own immune system, which normally targets and destroys substances foreign to the body such as viruses and bacteria, mistakenly attacks normal tissues. In MS, the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system).
Although the causes of multiple sclerosis has not been identified, there is data that suggest that genetics, a person’s environment, and even a virus may play a role.
What Are the Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
Abnormal Sensation: People with MS often say they feel a “pins and needles” sensation or numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains. Fortunately, they can usually be managed or treated
Loss of balance: MS can cause muscle weakness or spasms, which make it harder to walk and/or cause balance problems.
Fatigue: About 8 in 10 people feel very tired. It often comes on in the afternoon and causes weak muscles, slowed thinking, or sleepiness. It’s usually not related to the amount of work you do. Some people with MS say they can feel tired even after a good night’s sleep.
Vision problems:. Typically affects only one eye and may resolve on its own. Symptoms may include vision which is blurry, gray, or have a dark spot in the center.
Bladder problems: The symptoms may include the need to urinate often, or urgently; the need to urinate at night, or having difficulty emptying the bladder fully.
Speech problems: Sometimes MS can cause people to pause a long time in between words and have slurred or nasal speech. Some people also develop swallowing problems in more advanced stages of MS.
Muscle spasms: There may be a mild stiffness or strong, painful muscle spasm. Typically spams affect the leg muscles, but can affect the arms, and trunk as well.
Problems with thinking and processing information: This may present as trouble concentrating, slowed thinking, and/or poor attention.
Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis
There is no single test that is diagnostic for multiple sclerosis. The diagnosis is based on combination of the symptoms presented, use of supportive data (such as MRI, BAER, VEP, and sometimes a spinal tap) and by ruling out other disease states that have similar presentation to MS.
Is There a Cure for Multiple Sclerosis?
Unfortunately, there is not a cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are several treatments. The drugs to MS may slow down the progression of the disease. Additionally, there are treatment options to help manage MS related symptoms.