Multiple Sclerosis

A disease of the human nervous system (brain and spinal cord), Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata. In MS, the myelin sheath (protective covering) of the nerve cells is damaged and causes a disruption of the communication between the brain and the body. This usually leads to complications in coordination and memory related problems. Although MS is not a very serious disease, some people are affected more than others and may lose their ability to speak or walk. Multiple Sclerosis is also observed to affect women more than men.

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are wide and depend on which nerve cells are affected.

  • Disturbance in vision: Partial or complete loss of vision, blurred vision, double vision or pain in eye movement are some of the symptoms.
  • Unusual Sensations: Numbness in limbs, tingling sensation and pain in different parts of the body, typically on one side of the body, particularly the leg.
  • Improper limb coordination: Trouble with walking, coordination and balancing the body. Clumsiness may also be observed in some of the cases.
  • Bladder and bowel problems are also common, including the need to urinate often and constipation.
  • Thinking difficulties, problems with recalling, upset moods and being depressed are also symptoms of MS.
  • Speech problems, including a slurry speech are also seen in many MS patients.

Multiple Sclerosis Causes

There is yet no evidence as to what causes Multiple sclerosis, but researchers do suggest the role of genetics, environmental factors as well as virus attacks.

  • Geographical location is one of the prominent causes and the disease is seen to increase as the distance from the equator increases.
  • Also, MS is more prevalent in whites, as compared to other racial groups. Other researchers believe that some people are genetically predisposed to Multiple Sclerosis and when they come into contact with certain environmental conditions, the autoimmune response in the body triggers, resulting in the appearance of the condition.

Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis

Although, there are no particular tests to identify Multiple Sclerosis, doctors usually use a series of tests to rule out other possible diseases or infections, that may have similar symptoms as MS. Also, the Mcdonald criteria, which focuses on brain lesions in different areas at different times, is often used by doctors.

  • Blood Tests: These tests are used to rule out any infection or inflammation.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging: MRI is often used to detect any lesion in the brain. This may include the injection of intravenous dye to highlight lesions.
  • Lumbar puncture is also used to inspect the fluid from the spinal canal.

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Although, no cure has been yet found for treating Multiple Sclerosis, many therapies as well as medications have been found to be of help to manage life after an attack and reduce the symptoms. There are physical therapies, specific disease modifying drugs as well as alternative therapies which people find beneficial. The treatment, however, depends on the specific problems, including disease progression, signs and symptoms and treatments for attacks.

  • Medications
  • Physical or alternative therapy