Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Definition:-
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.

Multiple sclerosis...MRI of the brain..Nerve supply to the pelvis..Central nervous system
Myelin and nerve structure

Causes:-
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.

Symptoms:-
*Decreased ability to control small movements
*Decreased attention span
*Decreased coordination
*Decreased judgment
*Decreased memory
*Depression
*Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
*Dizziness
*Double vision
*Eye discomfort
*Facial pain
*Fatigue
*Loss of balance
*Movement problems – slowly progressive; beginning in the legs
*Muscle atrophy
*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
*Slurred speech
*Tingling
*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)
*Vertigo
*Vision loss — usually affects one eye at a time
*Walking/gait abnormalities
*Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

*Constipation
*Hearing loss

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.

Diagnosis:-
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
*Spine MRI
*Lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
*Cerebrospinal fluid tests, includingCSF oligoclonal banding

Treatment:-

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.

More Support Groups:
For additional information, Click to see multiple sclerosis resources.

Prognosis:-

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 :

*Progressive disability

*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.

Click to See:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Ayurveda

Understanding the Root Causes of Multiple Sclerosis on Ayurvedic view

Ayurvedic Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis

Homeopathic Treatment, Cure & Medicines for Multiple Sclerosis

Does homeopathy really help cure MS.(Multiple Sclerosis )

Esperanza – Treatment Program for Multiple Sclerosis

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

Resources:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000737.htm
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiple_sclerosis

Categories
Health Problems & Solutions

Few Health Questions & Answers

Few Health Questions & Answers by Dr Gita Mathai is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore. If you have any questions on health issues, please write to yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in

Q: Can I pierce my bellybutton?

A: Body piercing is now popular. If you are 21 years old, you are free to pierce your nose, ears or belly button. However, make sure your immunisations are up-to-date so that you do not develop tetanus or Hepatitis B from the procedure.

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Also ensure the shop is clean, the person washes his hands, uses disposable gloves and has disposable and sterile instruments. Check the type of metal being used in the jewellery.

Can I eat honey?

Q: I read honey is better and safer than sugar. Can I eat honey and give it to the rest of my family?

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A: Honey is sweeter than sugar and has a palatable flavour. This is why some people to prefer it to sugar and other sweeteners. The honey used should, however, be pure and not sweetened with sugar or jaggery.

Most bacteria do not grow in honey. However, it can be contaminated with dormant spores of the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. In children these spores can be transformed into toxin-producing bacteria. It can cause diarrhoea, vomiting and even death.

Abnormal movements

Q: My eight-year-old daughter suddenly started writhing and sticking out her tongue. We took her to a neurologist. After blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI scan, he said it is chorea. His treatment, however, hasn’t helped.

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A: Sydenham chorea occurs in childhood, is commoner in girls and results from an infection by the same bacterium that causes rheumatic fever. It is characterised by rapid, irregular and aimless involuntary movements of the arms and legs, trunk and facial muscles.

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for chorea. If it is mild, bed rest may be sufficient. In more severe cases, sedative drugs or seizure medication may be needed.

However, most children recover completely in three to six weeks, although some may have symptoms for several months. In a third of the affected children, it can recur one or two years after the initial attack.

Painful knee

Q: My son has pain in his right knee. My doctor said it is apophysitis and that he will grow out of it. I am upset and confused.

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A:
Your doctor has probably diagnosed tibial apophysitis. This is commoner in athletic boys and manifests itself during the adolescent growth spurt. It is due to overuse and typically causes pain, swelling and tenderness of the bony prominence of the upper shinbone. It does not cause any permanent deformity or complications. It needs only rest, warm fomentations and mild analgesics.

Lurching gait

Q: My son, 36, has developed severe headaches. He also lurches towards the right when he walks. He has a red birthmark on the left side of his face. The doctor says these are connected and has asked for a scan.

A: A red birthmark is a haemangiona, an abnormal collection of blood vessels. A similar malformation may be present internally, near the brain. Your doctor probably wants to rule that out as part of the investigations for the lurching gait.

Infectious diseases:

Q: My seven-year-old daughter developed typhoid. A few months later she developed jaundice. She has become thin and weak. Is anything wrong with her immunity?

A: We live in a tropical country with a high incidence of infectious diseases. Both the diseases you have mentioned (if the jaundice was Hepatitis A) are food or water borne.

Boil or purify the water before drinking it. Wash fruits and vegetables, if eaten raw, in the same purified water.

Immunisation is available against both these diseases. Typhoid can be prevented with a single vaccine injection. It costs between Rs 200 and Rs 300. It is given after the age of two years and repeated every three years. Hepatitis A and B can also be prevented. Immunisation for hepatitis A consists of two injections four to six months apart. It costs between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,300. No booster doses are required.

Your child’s immunity is probably normal. There seems to have been a breakdown in hygiene and immunisation.

Vaccination:

Q:
My grandfather is a smoker and asthmatic. He gets frequent attacks of bronchitis. The doctor has asked us to immunise him. It sounded silly to us and so we changed doctors.

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A: Asthmatics are prone to exacerbations owing to infection or exposure to an allergen. If it is due to a bacterial infection, the sputum will be purulent for 48 hours. Among the organisms that can cause frequent infections, H Influenzae and S pneumoniae can be prevented by immunisation. Both can be given before the age of two years. As they are fairly recent vaccines your grandfather would not have received them.

The polyvalent pneumococcal vaccine can be given after the age of two years as a single injection against S pneumoniae. It provides a lifetime of protection. It is offered to adults over the age of 65 years who are at risk for pneumonia.

Source: The Telegraph (India, Kolkata)

Categories
Pediatric

Is there a way to help your child avoid the common cold?

In the late 19th century Sir William Osler, one of the founding doctors of the Johns Hopkins Medical School, said that colds should be treated with contempt. It’s not known if Dr. Osler was suffering from a cold at the time, but this fact is known – we all get them from time to time and some kids get more than their share. It is nearly impossible for your child to avoid catching a cold. Adults average 2 to 3 colds per year and children 6 to 10, depending on their age and exposure. Youngsters are particularly susceptible to colds because of their close contact with other children, they have yet to learn good personal hygiene, such as hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes, and they constantly have their hands in their mouth and nose.

Yet, there are some things that can be done to reduce the frequency of colds in children (and adults, as well)
. First, parents should get to know their enemy, how we are infected, and if we can discover any weaknesses in our opponent. Second, parents should do all they can to keep their child’s immune system strong.

The enemy is one of over 100 different viruses, with strange sounding names like rhinovirus and adenovirus. The viruses first contaminate the hands of a child or adult with a cold as a result of nose blowing, covering sneezes, and touching the nose. The virus also contaminates objects (particularly toys) and surfaces in the environment of the cold sufferer. Casual contact transfers the virus to the hands of a non-infected child or adult, who then infects his or her self by touching their nose or rubbing their eyes (virus deposited in the eye promptly goes down the tear duct into the nose). Touching contaminated toys and surfaces, where they can survive up to three hours, can also pick up the virus. Less often, an adult or child can be infected when they breathe virus-containing droplets that were recently expelled in coughs and sneezes by an infected person (did you know that airborne droplets can travel up to 25 feet?).

Once infected, it takes only 8-12 hours for the viruses to begin multiplying and another 10-12 hours for cold symptoms to begin. Therefore, the only defense against the virus is to prevent this uninvited guest from entering the body in the first place.


Teach Your Kids to Wash Their Hands.
80% of all infectious disease could be eliminated by more frequent and proper hand washing with soap and water. This is the first line of defense against colds. It takes lots of soap, hot water, and 15 seconds of scrubbing to do any good. Remind your kids that they should never put their hands in their eyes or to their nose without washing them first.

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Encourage your kids to use tissue instead cloth handkerchiefs
Handkerchiefs catch and retain the viruses. Encourage your youngster to use paper facial tissue instead, and then throw them away immediately after each use. And remember to remind them to wash your hands after blowing your nose. Infectious disease specialists encourage parents to tell their kids to “blow, throw and wash” theory. After they blow their nose, be sure that they throw the tissue away…don’t carry it around… and then, wash your hands.

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Reduce your child’s social life. If you know that there is a high incidence of colds in your community, try to keep your child’s contact with other children to a minimum. Limit your youngster’s time they spend with infected kids.

Get some fresh air
During the cold season, kids tend to stay indoors and the germs spread faster this way. By opening windows and doors for a few minutes, and allowing air to circulate, you can push out airborne viruses. Viruses love stagnant air.

Help keep your child’s nasal passages clear Artificial heating tends to be very drying, so consider using a humidifier in the home to keep their air moist enough so as not to dry out the mucus membranes of the nose. Likewise, an air filter in an indoor environment, especially a HEPA type filter, can help remove airborne dust and germs.

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Eliminate Cigarette Smoke from Your Child‘s Environment Children exposed to passive cigarette smoke will get five times the number of colds when compared to youngsters who live in a smoke-free home.

Get Plenty of Sleep Our moms were right on when they encouraged us to get enough sleep. Although researchers have not directly proven that sleep deprivation causes more colds, some studies have sleep loss of three to four hours can cause a 50 percent decline in immune response.

When possible avoid closed-in spaces. Airplanes are virus-breading grounds. Cold viruses can’t escape these poorly ventilated areas. In addition, these areas are notorious for providing low humidity. This dries our mucous membranes that normally trap and dispose of viral invaders. A closed in space is just one more opportunity for the virus to spread to your child.

Source:kidsgrowth.com