Dubai, United Arab Emirates (CNN) – MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system and is considered an autoimmune disease, so that the immune system attacks the healthy cells of the body. This disease affects the quality of life of the patient and can disrupt it.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but after the diagnosis of the disease, its symptoms can be treated, adapting to new lifestyles.
What causes multiple sclerosis?
The disease begins when a person's immune system attacks the fibers of nerve fibers throughout the body. These protective neoplasms are called "myelin" and help to communicate between nerves.
When the myelin disappears, it detects the nerves, slowly causing the communication between the neurons. Signs and symptoms are related to extent of damage. Researchers believe the disease is caused by environmental and genetic factors, but the underlying cause is unknown.
Who is affected by multiple sclerosis?
There are many risk factors associated with multiple sclerosis, which can put people at increased risk, according to the National Library of Medicine.
This occurs most commonly in Caucasian women between the ages of 20 and 40. Although genes are suspected of playing a role in the risk of multiple sclerosis, the genotype is unknown.
However, the potential risk can be reduced by changing some habits such as stopping smoking and obtaining adequate levels of vitamin D. Studies show that smokers are at a greater risk of multiple sclerosis than nonsmokers 1.5 times.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
As the disease causes inflammation of the optic nerve, a condition known as optic neuritis, it is likely to result in pain and loss of vision in the affected eye. This may be one of the first signs of MS or may appear later.
Other symptoms include:
- Weak vision
- Loss of bowel and bladder functions
- Muscle stiffness
- Numbness and limb weakness
- Other symptoms, such as the appearance of electric shock, are when the neck is moved.
How is MS diagnosed?
Often, this disease is diagnosed excluding other cases. A key tool for the diagnosis of MRI is magnetic resonance imaging, where doctors look for bright white spots that indicate disease activity in the brain and spinal cord and may also look at other related sites, such as the optic nerve. An analysis of a sample of spinal cord fluid may also be performed to look for abnormal proteins in it.
What is the treatment of multiple sclerosis?
During periods of severe deterioration of symptoms, known as exacerbation or relapse, steroids can treat the symptoms. Drugs, known as MDA, help reduce the number and severity of relapses.
Generally, muscle relaxants are prescribed to treat MS associated sclerosis. Patients are closely monitored for potential side effects of treatment, such as flu symptoms and injection site reactions.
The development of the disease and its medical follow-up vary from patient to patient. Some people may go through long periods of calm or lack of symptoms, and others may have many severe symptoms of the disease, so that they lose the ability to walk unaided.
While this disease can change life, however, physical therapy and some means such as walking sticks and walking aids can improve the ability to perform daily activities. There are also special considerations to avoid fatigue, including avoiding heat and excessive activity.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, multiple sclerosis can be fatal; however, most patients are mildly affected, and life expectancy has improved in recent years.