There are numerous conditions that affect our brain i.e. nervous system. Of the numerous conditions, most of them render person with lifelong disability and make their lives in need of treatment till they live, one such condition is Multiple Sclerosis. It is a very common disorder but very little known to the general population.
What is Multiple Sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis is an immune mediated, serious disabling disease of the central nervous system which includes brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, resulting in a wide range of potentially fatal problems.
What causes Multiple Sclerosis? Exact cause of the disease is unknown! It is an autoimmune disorder meaning the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. In case of MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers and completely destroys it. The destroyed nerve fibers thus slow down or even block the message carrying ability of the nerves. Research suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for MS.
Risk factors of MS – There are numerous risk factors associated with MS including:
- Age – Common in age group between 20 to 30 years
- Women are twice more prone when compared to men
- Family history of MS
- Viral infections
Symptoms of MS – Symptoms can begin all at once or can present on remission basis. Symptoms include –
- Numbness or weakness in one half of the body
- Partial or complete loss of vision in one or both the eyes
- Double vision
- Pains and tingling in most parts of the body
- Slurred speech
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Trouble walking
Course of the disease – MS has a debilitating course of relapses and remissions. The symptoms improve partially or completely, new symptoms might crop up. There are periods wherein one would be completely symptom free.
Complications of MS – MS has serious impact on the overall well-being of the individual, complications include –
- Muscle stiffness or spasms
- Sexual problems
- Mental problems
Management of MS – Your physician is the right person to decide on the tests you need, however his list of tests can include the following and are not limited to –
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture
- Evoked potential tests
Treatment options vary based on the condition of the individual. Medications either reduce the symptoms or postpone complications or improve the well being of the individual. Physiotherapy also helps in better movements function.
Coping with MS – Life with MS is not simple; it takes more of your time and energy. However the following points can help:
- Maintain normal activities as best as you can
- Stay connected with individuals who have similar problem
- Continue with your hobbies
- Discuss your concerns with your doctor
- Eat well balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Calm down when situations are bad
MS is treatable but not curable, so don’t hesitate to reach out to doctor when you have any symptoms that start suddenly and has no underlying condition to explain.
Diseases of nervous system must be treated on priority. So be educated and educate your near and dear about MS.
Be more than well. Be well prepared.