Multiple Sclerosis: Definition
What is multiple sclerosis (MS)? It is an illness that slowly destroys the central nervous system of the human body. The brain cannot function properly due to an attack from the immune system. A well-functioning brain communicates efficiently, while MS destroys the nerves in the brain and distorts the communications, causing dysfunction in the body.
Since the disease progresses slowly, the symptoms vary depending on the severity of the condition. Thus, patients experience a variety of individually specific symptoms throughout the span of MS development. For instance, one person may have difficulty moving while another may not exhibit any symptoms of that kind for a long time.
Multiple sclerosis does not have a cure yet, but doctors can treat and manage the disease to prevent further attacks.
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis: Risk Factors
Scholars and medical practitioners have not yet found the major causes of this illness. One’s immune system is responsible for damaging the nervous system and triggering this condition. It destroys a protective coating known as myelin, which in turn exposes the nerve fibers.
It is possible that this disease may be hereditary, with the environment contributing to its development. Some risk factors triggering this illness in people between 15-60 years of age include genetic predisposition, the female gender, and smoking.
What are the Symptoms of MS?
Since this illness attacks various nerves in the brain, the symptoms vary in each patient. Some can be found in the following symptoms checklist:
- Impaired vision;
- Intense pain;
- Fatigue and general weakness;
- Feeling dizzy;
- Bladder complications;
- Tremors and lack of body balance.
Another crucial symptom is headaches, which tend to affect women more than men. Other complications may include paralysis, depression, epilepsy, and mental effects such as amnesia and sudden mood swings.
Thus, it is advisable to seek medical help when you experience any of the mentioned early signs of MS. Since individuals show a relapse of the signs, it is best to undergo tests so that it can be identified in the early stages rather that when it has progressed.
How is MS Diagnosed?
There is no clinical test that doctors use to diagnose multiple sclerosis. However, we will outline how to test for MS. The early warning signs will hint at the presence of MS, and a medical practitioner will conduct an extensive medical review and examination. Additional recommended tests include a spinal tap, MRI, and blood tests to rule out the presence of other illnesses.
Treatment and Care
As mentioned above, MS is incurable. The major aim of treating this condition is to lessen the damage to the nerves and slow down the disease’s progression. Managing the warning signs is essential in ensuring patients live a normal life and are able to perform daily tasks.
Since MS develops progressively, patients usually use medications to decrease the symptoms and curb the disease’s development. For those exhibiting the first signs, some therapies have proven to have clinical benefits. For instance, muscle relaxants ease the pain associated with MS manifestations, corticosteroids help to reduce nerve inflammation, and plasmapheresis is helpful for patients who are non-responsive to steroids. The only FDA-approved therapy for MS that is efficient in curbing the rapid development of MS-associated disability is ocrelizumab (sold under the brand name of Ocrevus in the USA). Since the most intense immune response in MS patients is observed in the early stages of the disease, it is crucial to take early action and start treatment as soon as possible to achieve better treatment outcomes and improved quality of life.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis and Management
Most people might have asked themselves at some point in their lives, ‘Do I have MS’? Since the early signs may be a common occurrence in most people, it is advisable to undergo a differential diagnosis to clarify the diagnosis. Adults living with this condition may be frightened to learn the truth, but once they understand and learn all about the disease and the various treatments available, they may live a full, comfortable life with their loved ones.
The most important aspect of managing this condition is self-care. Non-pharmacological ways of relieving the symptoms include ensuring that one gets adequate rest, avoiding stressful situations, and staying cool most of the time, since the symptoms may get worse in high temperatures. In addition, MS patients should maintain healthy habits like eating healthy food and exercising regularly. They need to visit the hospital for consistent checkups and reviews on how the condition is progressing. Also, people with this disease need a strong support system from family or friends, or professional companions and health assistants, to help them forge ahead and live a positive life with MS. Experts from Buffalo Home Care can help patients with MS in all kinds of daily routines and self-care, making MS a much more manageable condition.