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Multiple Sclerosis

Also called: MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a nervous system disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. 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 symptoms of MS. They can include

  • Visual disturbances
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble with coordination and balance
  • Sensations such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles"
  • Thinking and memory problems

No one knows what causes MS. It may be an autoimmune disease, which happens when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Multiple sclerosis affects women more than men. It often begins between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually, the disease is mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak, or walk.

There is no single test for MS. Doctors use a medical history, physical exam, neurological exam, MRI, and other tests to diagnose it. There is no cure for MS, but medicines may slow it down and help control symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The following features are indicative of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • numbness or weakness in limbs
  • partial or complete loss of vision
  • eye pain
  • prolonged double vision
  • electric-shock sensations
  • tremors
  • lack of coordination
  • unsteady gait
  • slurred speech
  • fatigue
  • muscle spasms
  • constipation and stool leakage
  • difficulty beginning to urinate
  • frequent need to urinate
  • strong urge to urinate
  • incontinence
  • uncontrollable eye movements
  • facial pain
  • painful muscle spasms
  • tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs
  • decreased attention span
  • poor judgment
  • memory loss
  • difficulty reasoning and solving problems
  • depression or feelings of sadness
  • dizziness and balance problems
  • hearing loss
  • problems with erections
  • problems with vaginal lubrication
  • slurred or difficult-to-understand speech
  • trouble chewing and swallowing
It is possible that Multiple Sclerosis shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

The following are the most common causes of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • autoimmune disorder
  • destruction of myelin sheath
  • brain nerve fibres damage
  • spinal cord nerve fibres damage

Other Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

The following are the less common causes of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • environmental factors
  • family history
  • virus or gene defect

Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • ages of 15 and 60 year
  • being women
  • family history
  • viral infections
  • white people of Northern European descent
  • exposure to climate change
  • smoking
  • certain autoimmune diseases

Prevention of Multiple Sclerosis

No, it is not possible to prevent Multiple Sclerosis.
  • genetic factors

Occurrence of Multiple Sclerosis

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Multiple Sclerosis cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Common between 1 - 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Multiple Sclerosis can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Multiple Sclerosis can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Multiple Sclerosis:
  • Blood tests: To check out other diseases with symptoms similar to multiple sclerosis
  • Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): To check out abnormalities in antibodies that are associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Multiple resonance imaging: To reveal areas of lesions on brain and spinal cord
  • Evoked potential tests: To record the electrical signals produced by nervous system in response to stimuli

Doctor for Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • Neurologist

Complications of Multiple Sclerosis if untreated

Yes, Multiple Sclerosis causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Multiple Sclerosis is left untreated:
  • muscle stiffness or spasms
  • paralysis, typically in the legs
  • problems with bladder, bowel or sexual function
  • mental changes, such as forgetfulness or mood swings
  • depression
  • epilepsy

Procedures for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

The following procedures are used to treat Multiple Sclerosis:
  • Plasma exchange (plasmapheresis): To reduce multiple sclerosis attacks

Self-care for Multiple Sclerosis

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • Take rest: Get plenty of rest to relax the body
  • Regular exercise: Regular exercise helps improving strength, muscle tone, balance and coordination
  • Take healthy diet: Helps in reducing multiple sclerosis symptoms

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Multiple Sclerosis:
  • Do yoga: Helps relieving stress
  • Get tai chi therapy: Helps relieving stress
  • Massage therapy: Helps relieving stress
  • Do meditation or deep breathing: Helps relieving stress
  • Physical therapy: Helps managing leg weakness and other gait problems often associated with multiple sclerosis
  • Acupuncture: Helps in reducing symptoms
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy: To improve the condition

Patient Support for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

The following actions may help Multiple Sclerosis patients:
  • Friends and family support: Stay connected with family and friends
  • Daily activities: Maintain normal daily activities as best you can
  • Support group: Join a support group
  • Counselor support: Share feelings and concerns about living with multiple sclerosis

Time for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Multiple Sclerosis to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • Disease cannot be treated but only maintained or effects reduced

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Multiple Sclerosis.

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