Multiple Sclerosis Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord begin to degenerate. ‘Myelin’, which happens to provide a covering for the nerves and assumes the designated role of improving the conduction of impulses along them, disappears in multiple sclerosis due to inflammation. Once the nerve damage begins to spread and more and more nerves begin to get damaged, the individual may start to experience increasing interference in functions that are controlled by the nervous system. These important functions include speech, walking, writing, vision and memory.
It has been estimated that as much as 350,000 people in the United States are affected by multiple sclerosis. Research also suggests that the disease is more likely to occur between the age 20-50 years, that women are more susceptible to multiple sclerosis than men, and that the probability of occurrence of multiple sclerosis is twice as likely in Caucasians as any other group of people.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes
A lot of research has been conducted over the years in an attempt to discover the causes of multiple sclerosis, but this research has not been of much avail. However, scientists have established for multiple sclerosis to be an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is one in which the immunity system instead of protecting a certain tissue destroys it, mistakenly. Scientists suspect for multiple sclerosis to be an autoimmune disease as they believe that in the course of this condition, a virus alters the immunity system, forcing it to attack the myelin. During this process, some of the nerves are essentially stripped off their myelin covering while some can still potentially recover after the assault carried out by the immunity system.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
The most common multiple sclerosis symptoms include the following:
- Blurred or double vision
- Tingling sensations
- Loss of balance
- Weakness in the limbs
- Heat sensitivity
- Abnormal sensations such as pins and needles, numbness, itching, burning etc.
The less common multiple sclerosis symptoms include the following:
- Cognitive disabilities
- Slurred speech
- Lack of coordination
- A sudden and spontaneous onset of paralysis
- Breathing difficulties
While the more common symptoms of multiple sclerosis start emerging at an earlier stage of the disease, the less common ones usually gain visibility at a later stage. These symptoms usually begin to appear between 20-50 years of age and a person is typically seen to be consistent with the symptoms even after one or two episodes of the symptoms have apparently been resolved.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Research suggests that treatment should begin at the time of the first multiple sclerosis attack, as patients who start treatment on an immediate basis gain more than those who delay the process. Most neurologists prefer using Disease Modifying Drugs as their first line of treatment for multiple sclerosis. Different drugs are used to treat different symptoms of the disease, and so it is highly essential that a doctor is consulted before any kind of therapy is considered. Furthermore, these drugs come with their own package of a downside, that is, possible side effects. These side effects can further worsen the condition, and hence, it is very important that you keep yourself educated about every aspect of the drug usage before starting the treatment.
It is also advisable to seek help through support groups or maybe counseling, especially for families and patients who are directly being affected by the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.