Health and Fitness

What exactly is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis disease is a condition that affects the brain & the spinal cord. Consequently, it causes a wide range of symptoms including the loss of arm &/or leg movement, vision problems, sensations of external stimuli, & movement.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, and as such, it is usually chronic in nature. It usually causes serious disability for a lifetime in certain stages & progression of the disease, although it is possible for some cases to be mild in nature as well.

When a person suffers from Multiple Sclerosis disease, it means that their immune system has started attacking the protective sheath that forms around the nerves of the body, also known as Myelin.

The damage to the sheath also means that the nerves are exposed to other foreign elements & attacks, causing the signal transfer taking place through them to slow down or cease altogether.  This process lies behind the severe disability that is characteristic of Multiple Sclerosis.

While the exact MS causes remain a mystery to most doctors & researchers, many believe it to be the result of certain genetic & environmental factors. Advanced age, smoking, excessive stress, & an unhealthy lifestyle have all been linked to a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis or are considered MS causes.

Multiple sclerosis Types

People are generally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis symptoms in their 20s & 30s, although the disease has been seen to occur at almost any age. Both sexes can have a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, although it is up to 2 to 3 times more common among women than men.

They might require assistance with some of the most basic everyday functions & tasks like bathing, getting dressed, eating, drinking, walking, etc.

In rare cases, swallowing troubles and jaw disorders can also occur, making the lives of Multiple Sclerosis patients & their caretakers even more difficult.

 Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis:

Since Multiple Sclerosis disease can affect any part(s) of the body, affected individuals usually display a wide range of symptoms. Inability to walk without assistance, trouble chewing or swallowing, not being able to lift hands or legs properly, unable to stand on your own, or requiring help with most basic tasks all fall under the ambit of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms.

Depending on each individual case & the stage of Multiple Sclerosis disease they are currently in, each person may exhibit different symptoms. Thus, your doctor will need to be especially careful & thorough while evaluating your symptoms to reach an accurate Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, or otherwise.

Some of the most common Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that patients usually present with include:

  • Generalized fatigue
  • Difficulty walking or maintaining a steady pace
  • Vision problems like blurred vision or double vision, momentary blackouts, etc.
  • Issues with controlling the bladder. Involuntary bladder spasms or recurrent & frequent urge to urinate.
  • Numbness or tingling in various parts & areas of the body, most commonly experienced in the hands & the legs
  • Muscle spasms & stiffness throughout the body or in certain localized areas
  • Problems maintaining balance & coordination of various muscles & organs of the body
  • Issues with thinking something through, learning & concentrating, & problem-solving. Patients might often feel so fatigued that performing even the most basic tasks become an issue.

Multiple Sclerosis can also occur with generalized aches & pains, making it harder for your doctor to give you an accurate Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Depending on your individual medical history & the stage of Multiple Sclerosis disease you’re currently in, your symptoms may either come & go, or be more frequent and intense in nature.

Usually, during the later stages of the disease, Multiple Sclerosis often becomes progressive. In this condition, your symptoms get more intense, severe, & frequent by the day, gradually increasing the degree of your disability & reducing your independence.

Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis:

Your doctor will ask for a complete medical history & a detailed breakdown of your symptoms. Ensure that you tell them each symptom in complete detail so that they are able to make a better diagnosis & reach the correct conclusions medically.

Depending on the pattern & severity of your symptoms, as well as details of your disability, your doctor will most likely be able to tell if you have MS disease or not. In other cases, your doctor may recommend some other tests to you just so they can be doubly sure of their hunch. These tests can include MRI scans, CT scans, bloodwork, & certain deficiency tests to find out if your symptoms can be explained by any other medical condition.

Certain vitamin deficiencies can also result in severe muscle spasms & disability, so can certain infections and illnesses. Hence, your doctor will usually perform a complete medical evaluation to rule out any other possible causes of your MS symptoms.

Once your results come back indicating the possibility or the presence of MS, your doctor will refer you to a specialist. This specialist is usually a neurologist who deals with disorders and diseases of the central nervous system, the spinal cord, & the brain.

Depending on your exact symptoms, test results, & disease progression stage, a neurologist will be able to figure out an appropriate Multiple Sclerosis treatment strategy that works best for your individual case.

Multiple Sclerosis treatment:

Proper treatment for Multiple Sclerosis guidelines doesn’t exist so far. Multiple Sclerosis treatment generally takes a symptomatic approach, with most treatment strategies focusing on providing relief from the associated Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, pain, & disability.

Depending on your exact MS symptoms & stage of the vertigo disease, your treatment of Multiple Sclerosis  may include:

  • Short courses of steroid medicines to treat relapses, minimize the damage done by the immune system, & slow down the progression of the disease
  • Symptom-based treatment to reduce the intensity & severity of the MS symptoms
  • Treatment with medicines & drugs known as ‘relapse-reducing therapies’ to modify or slow down the course & progression of Multiple Sclerosis disease. These therapies may also be useful in reducing the intensity & number of relapses in people with relapsing-remitting MS, a form of MS characterized by recurrent relapses of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms.

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