Multiple Sclerosis — Signs, Symptoms, Treatment
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic medical condition which affects the central nervous system of the body. The disease, often called MS, attacks the brain, optic nerves, and the spinal cord causing patients to be limited in movement and function. Some with MS will progressively get worse over time, causing them to become completely paralyzed and even blind.
Multiple sclerosis is considered to be an auto-immune disease. An individual’s own immune system attacks the central nervous system. Each nerve fiber in the body is surrounded by myelin which acts as a protector. The myelin aids in conducting the electric impulses from the nerves through the body. In a patient with MS, a patient lacks the myelin in several areas, resulting in a scar, known as a sclerosis. As with MS, the patient will have ‘multiple’ scars which result in lesions. Over time the lesions will deteriorate and damage or breakage will affect the nerve fiber.
When nerve fibers break the impulse communication can no longer link between the brain and the body therefore limiting or paralyzing one’s ability to move. Essentially, multiple sclerosis will not allow your body to do what your brain is telling it to do. The most common symptoms associated with MS include bladder and bowel problems, cognitive function problems (ie: memory, focus, attention), depression, emotional issues, fatigue, vision problems, tremors, spasms in the muscles, sexual dysfunction, and pain or numbness in the body.
There is not currently a cure for MS. As the disease progress, symptoms will get worse. Medication therapy may be used to treat symptoms and pain. Physical therapy can help to keep patients moving around comfortably and maintain their mobility. Many patients will go for prolonged periods of no physical issues and then suffer through increasingly difficult periods. Multiple sclerosis in itself is not necessary fatal although other medical conditions may result that can affect a person’s overall health.
In the last decade there has been progress related to the beneficial treatment of MS including drug therapies and experimental treatments. It will be necessary to first get a proper diagnosis of multiple sclerosis so you can explore your options for treatment and maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.