Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which your immune system damages the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves. The loss of myelin that results from this disrupts the communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, this can damage your nerves themselves, which becomes difficult to heal.
Its signs and symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage to the nerves it affects. Some people with severe multiple sclerosis may lose the ability to walk independently or completely, while others may avoid problems until they develop new symptoms.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but treatment can improve your current condition faster and prevent you from developing it.
How many types of multiple sclerosis are there?
There are four types and many signs of multiple sclerosis:
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)
This is the most common type of multiple sclerosis. People with RRMS have this over and over again on a temporary basis.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS)
In SPMS, symptoms get worse more rapidly over time. Most people who get RRMS also get SPMS.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
This type of multiple sclerosis is not very common, occurring in about 10% of people with multiple sclerosis. In this, the symptoms gradually worsen from the beginning and it does not happen repeatedly.
Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS)
This is a rare form of multiple sclerosis. In PRMS, the symptoms get progressively worse from the onset and it is recurrent and does not bring relief.
What are 4 common symptoms of MS?
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary depending on the location of the affected nerve fibers. It may have the following symptoms –
- Weakness or numbness in one or more limbs, usually on one side of the body at a time.
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often accompanied by pain during eye movement.
- Multiple visions or blurred vision.
- Tingling or pain in parts of the body.
- Electric shock-like sensation during certain neck movements, especially when bending the neck forward.
- To speak indistinctly
- Fatigue .
- Bowel and bladder problems.
What is the main cause of multiple sclerosis?
The cause of multiple sclerosis is currently unknown. It is considered an autoimmune disease in which your immune system damages the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves.
Myelin can be compared to the protective covering of electrical wires. When the myelin is damaged and a nerve becomes exposed, messages going through that nerve can be slowed or blocked. Nerve damage may also occur.
It is not clear why some people develop multiple sclerosis and others do not. Heredity and environmental factors may be responsible for this
What are the risk factors for multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis can have the following risk factors –
Multiple sclerosis can occur at any age, but it usually affects people between the ages of 15 and 60.
Women are twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis than men.
- Family history:
If one of your parents or siblings has multiple sclerosis, you are at a higher risk of developing it as well.
Multiple sclerosis can also be caused by a variety of viruses.
- Autoimmune diseases:
If you have thyroid , type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you are at higher risk of multiple sclerosis.
How can multiple sclerosis be prevented?
There is no known way to prevent the onset of multiple sclerosis. People with it can manage and reduce their symptoms in a few ways –
- Changes in nutrient intake. ( Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, alcohol and tobacco)
- Do not consume food items that cause allergies .
- Avoiding processed foods and supplements.
How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
To diagnose multiple sclerosis your doctor will need a neurological exam, medical history, and other tests.
The following tests may be done in this:
Using a dye, MRI helps to detect active and inactive lesions in your brain and spinal cord.
Lumbar puncture or spinal tap
Your doctor may use this test to look for abnormalities in your spine. It can help in diagnosing infectious diseases.
A diagnosis of multiple sclerosis requires evidence of detachment of the myelin sheath of a nerve at different times in more than one area of your brain, spinal cord, or ophthalmic nerves.
How is multiple sclerosis treated?
The most common treatment for multiple sclerosis is medication. The dosage of the medicine may vary from person to person. The patient has to take this medicine weekly or monthly.
The effectiveness of treatment depends on the type of multiple sclerosis. For example – people with RRMS and PRMS are given medicines so that it does not happen again. These medicines can also cure disability.
Some researchers believe that a lack of vitamin D can also increase multiple sclerosis.
People with PPMS and SPMS respond less well to medications. Medicines are used to reduce some of the symptoms for the treatment of people suffering from them. For people with PPMS and SPMS, doctors recommend daily exercise , a healthy diet, and physical therapy. Getting plenty of biotin, and B vitamin also helps.
People with multiple sclerosis may see a reduction in their symptoms and an increase in their quality of life with these alternative treatments.
What are the complications of multiple sclerosis?
People with multiple sclerosis may have the following complications –
- Stiffness or spasms in the muscles
- Paralysis, usually in the legs
- Bladder, bowel or sexual function problems
- Mental changes, such as forgetfulness or mood swings