What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS is an autoimmune disease that causes the demyelination of the spinal nerves and brain cells. This means that the body attacks its own immune system, affecting the brain and the spinal cord especially. This disease attacks the substance that surrounds the nerves called myelin, and damages and destroys them. This then leads to the distortion and interruption of nerve impulses being sent to the brain and coming from the brain as well.
Every year this disease affects at least 2.3 million people globally. Unfortunately, the people diagnosed with this disease are as young as twenty to 50 years old. It is also three times more common in women than in men, and most of the women who are burdened with this condition happen to be below menopausal age. This suggests that hormones play a vital role in this condition. Although it is more common among women, the condition is more severe in men.
It is also a fact that people who smoke are more likely to get multiple sclerosis and have it progress faster than with non-smoking people. It is also more prevalent among Caucasians or whites than any other ethnicity. This condition is also believed to have a genetic influence. This is because people who have first degree relatives who suffered from this disease have a higher chance of developing it as well than the average person.
The exact reason why this disease occurs is unknown, but some of the risk factors include being between the age of 15-60 years old, and the knowledge that women are almost three times at risk of getting multiple sclerosis than men are.
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The treatment for this disease for children, teens, and adults is the same. For children and teenagers, however, their symptoms may include seizures and mental status change. Their symptoms are otherwise relatively similar. The symptoms also depend on when the nerves are demyelinated and it includes a number of changes.
Some of these changes include having double vision, or loss of vision. Experiencing numbness, a tingling feeling or weakness, which may range from being mild to severe. Those suffering from the condition may also experience paralysis, dizziness and for men with erectile dysfunction. This not only causes men to feel physically incompetent but also emotionally sensitive with feelings of low self-esteem and morale due to this condition. It is also known as impotence.
The incoordination of muscles, tremors and painful involuntary muscle contractions are all symptoms of MS as it continues to ravage the body. It also eventually leads to slurred speech and fatigue from all the painful changes happening in the body.
There are four types of MS including relapsing-remitting MS, secondary progressive MS, primary progressive MS, and progressive relapsing MS. Although there are four different strains of this disease, there is no one test that is done to determine and diagnose. As a result, medical professionals make diagnoses based on the patient’s history, conducting a physical exam and tests such as an MRI, lumbar puncture and checking on the speed of nerve impulses. Also referred to as evoked potential testing, among other tests to rule out other diseases with similar symptoms.
The treatment options for MS include using IV steroids and interferon injections. Drugs such as Copaxone, Tecfidera and many others are used to treat the symptoms of MS.
Multiple sclerosis is not a curable disease; therefore, family members and friends watch this disease progress in anguish. Its progression also cannot be prevented, neither can one prevent themselves from acquiring the condition. However, research efforts are going into developing new medications to modify the immune system and other ways that can be used to identify potential causes of MS.
When it comes to MS treatment includes taking prescribed medication to reduce THE uncomfortable symptoms and deter pain with medication as well.