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Multiple sclerosis(MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord).Multiple sclerosis (abbreviated MS, formerly known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata) is a chronic, inflammatory, demyelinating disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS)]. Disease onset usually occurs in young adults, is more common in women, and has a prevalence that ranges between 2 and 150 per 100,000 depending on the country or specific population.MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot…….….CLICK & SEE
It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, leading to the different symptoms.
No one knows what causes MS. It may be an autoimmune disease, which happens when your body attacks itself. Multiple sclerosis affects woman more than men. Usually, the disease is mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak or walk. There is no cure for MS, but medicines may slow it down and help control symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.
The disorder most commonly begins between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age.
Though the exact cause is not known, but MS is believed to result from damage to the myelin sheath, the protective material which surrounds nerve cells. It is a progressive disease, meaning the nerve damage (neurodegeneration) gets worse over time.
In addition to nerve damage, another part of MS is inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system. The inflammation destroys the myelin, leaving multiple areas of scar tissue (sclerosis). It also causes nerve impulses to slow down or become blocked, leading to the symptoms of MS. Repeated episodes, or flare ups, of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain and spinal cord.
Symptoms vary because the location and extent of each attack varies. Usually episodes that last days, weeks, or months alternate with times of reduced or no symptoms (remission).
Recurrence (relapse) is common although non-stop progression without periods of remission may also occur.
Researchers are not sure what triggers an attack. Patients with MS typically have a higher number of immune cells than a healthy person, which suggests that an immune response might play a role. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. There also appears to be a genetic link to the disease.
MS is more likely to occur in northern Europe, the northern United States, southern Australia, and New Zealand than in other areas. Geographic studies indicate there may be an environmental factor involved.
People with a family history of MS and those who live in a geographical area with a higher incidence rate for MS have a higher risk of the disease.
*Decreased ability to control small movements
*Decreased attention span
*Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
*Loss of balance
*Movement problems – slowly progressive; beginning in the legs
*Muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
*Muscle spasticity (uncontrollable spasm of muscle groups)
*Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
*Pain in the arms or legs
*Paralysis in one or more arms or legs
*Tremor in one or more arms or legs
*Uncontrollable rapid eye movements
*Urinary frequency (frequent need to urinate)
*Urinary hesitancy (difficult to begin urinating)
*Urinary urgency (strong urge to urinate)
*Urine leakage (incontinence)
*Vision loss — usually affects one eye at a time
*Weakness in one or more arms or legs
Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:
Note: Symptoms may vary with each attack. They may last days to months, then reduce or disappear, then recur periodically. With each recurrence, the symptoms are different as new areas are affected. Fever can trigger or worsen attacks, as can hot baths, sun exposure, and stress.
Multiple sclerosis is difficult to diagnose in its early stages. In fact, a definite diagnosis cannot be made until other disease processes (differential diagnoses) have been ruled out and, in the case of relapsing-remitting MS, there is evidence of at least two anatomically separate demyelinating events separated by at least thirty days. In the case of primary progressive, a slow progression of signs and symptoms over at least 6 months is required.
Exams and Tests:-
Symptoms of MS may mimic many other neurologic disorders. Diagnosis is made by ruling out other conditions.
A history of at least two attacks separated by a period of reduced or no symptoms may be a sign of relapsing-remitting MS.
If the health care provider can see decreases in any functions of the central nervous system (such as abnormal reflexes), a diagnosis of MS may be suspected.
A neurological exam may show localized decreases in nerve function. This may include decreased or abnormal sensation, decreased ability to move a part of the body, speech or vision changes, or other loss of neurologic functions. The type of neurologic deficit usually indicates the location of the damage to the nerves.
There may be a positive Babinski’s reflex.
Eye examination may show abnormal pupil responses, changes in the visual fields or eye movements, rapid eye movements triggered by movement of the eye, decreased visual acuity, or problems with the internal structures of the eye.
Tests that indicate or confirm multiple sclerosis include:-
*Head MRI scan
*Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
*Cerebrospinal fluid tests, includingCSF oligoclonal banding
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are promising therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and maintain a normal quality of life.
Medications used may include:
*Immune modulators to help control the immune system, including interferons (Avonex, Betaseron, or Rebif), monoclonal
*antibodies (Tysabri), and glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)
*Steroids to decrease the severity of attacks when they occur
*Medicines to reduce muscle spasms such as Lioresal (Baclofen), tizanidine (Zanaflex), or a benzodiazepine
*Cholinergic medications to reduce urinary problems
*Antidepressants for mood or behavior symptoms
*Amantadine for fatigue
Physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and support groups can help improve the person’s outlook, reduce depression, maximize function, and improve coping skills.
A planned exercise program early in the course of the disorder can help maintain muscle tone.
A healthy lifestyle is encouraged, including good general nutrition. Adequate rest and relaxation can help maintain energy levels. Attempts should be made to avoid fatigue, stress, temperature extremes, and illness to reduce factors that may trigger an MS attack.
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For additional information, Click to see multiple sclerosis resources.
The outcome is variable and unpredictable. Although the disorder is chronic and incurable, life expectancy can be normal or nearly so. Most people with MS continue to walk and function at work with minimal disability for 20 or more years.
The factors felt to best predict a relatively benign course are female gender, young age at onset (less than 30 years), infrequent attacks, a relapsing-remitting pattern, and low burden of disease on imaging studies.
The amount of disability and discomfort varies with the severity and frequency of attacks and the part of the central nervous system affected by each attack. Commonly, there is initially a return to normal or near-normal function between attacks. As the disorder progresses, there is progressive loss of function with less improvement between attacks.
Possible Complications :
*Urinary tract infections
*Side effects of medications used to treat the disorder.
When to Contact a Medical Professional:-
Call your health care provider if you develop any symptoms of MS, as he or she is the only one who can distinguish multiple sclerosis from other serious disorders such as stroke or infection.
Call your health care provider if symptoms progressively worsen despite treatment.
Call your health care provider if the condition deteriorates to the point where home care is no longer possible.
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Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke