Multiple sclerosis symptoms and treatment

(Last Updated On: 2020-01-04)

Understand 20 symptoms of multiple sclerosis with effective therapy

Multiple sclerosis is the commonest condition which affects the central nervous system which is the brain and spinal cord. It is a chronic autoimmune disorder caused by an immune system damaging and affecting the nervous system. It affects the movement and body functions disrupting of day to day activities. Multiple sclerosis is believed to involve an immunologic response. It is a lifelong condition that causes serious disability. In many cases, it is possible to treat symptoms. It causes a variety of symptoms and can affect women differently than men. It affects the brain, spinal cord and eyes meaning it has a wide range of physical mental and emotional symptoms that vary from person to person. It is not possible to predict how multiple sclerosis will progress in the patient. Multiple sclerosis means “scar tissue in multiple areas”

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Although there is no cure most patients lead an active life and have a normal lifespan. Treatment can be effective in managing the symptoms. Effective therapy along with a conventional line of treatment may help slow the progression of the disease

Causes of multiple sclerosis :

Multiple sclerosis damages the outer covering of the nerve cells called myelin, the fatty tissue that protects the nerve cells in the same the insulation protects the wiring in the house.

Myelin help nerve fibres conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain. Without myelin, it’s difficult for nerves to transmit and receive signals. Scar tissue accumulates when multiple areas of myelin get degenerate or damaged. The damaged area are known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fibre is itself damaged and dies.

When multiple sclerosis damages the myelin sheath of nerve fibres, the sheath sometimes corrects itself and starts with the normal functioning. In other cases, the myelin is damaged and the underlying nerve begins to die as it cannot repair itself. The reason for this autoimmune disorder is unknown.[1]

When myelin sheath disappears or sustains damage in multiple areas it leaves a scar or is called sclerosis. They may mainly affect :

  • Brainstem
  • Cerebellum which controls and coordinates the movement.
  • Spinal cord
  • Optic nerve
  • White matter in the lessons of brain

Symptoms occur between the age of 20 – 40 years.

Factors which cause multiple sclerosis

  • Genetic
  • Environmental factors
  • Virus

The most common symptoms include

  • Movement coordination and balance problem
  • Vision disturbances or blurred or double vision
  • Problems with bladder or bowel control
  • Lack of energy
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dysarthria: Speech difficulty or slurred speech
  • Lack of concentration
  • Impaired or short term memory
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Extreme weakness
  • Shaking and trembling of hands
  • Paralysis
  • Tingling numbness in arms and feet
  • Electric shock current like pain
  • Dizziness
  • Musculoskeletal pain and neuropathic pain: Pain and spasm
  • Dysphagia: difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • Pseudobulbar affect: Uncontrollable laughing and crying
  • Problems with thinking learning and planning.

Because multiple sclerosis is a varied condition, It may be difficult to diagnose in the initial stage. However, the sequence of attack remission and the duration of attack will help in gauging the disorder. The nature and distribution of symptoms in the body are also important. If multiple sclerosis is suspected, a referral to a neurologist is recommended

Test to aid diagnosis may include CBC (complete blood count) CT scan (computed tomography scan) and lumbar puncture to check the concentration of immune cells and proteins in the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord is important.

Currently, there is no cure for the disease but we can help control the symptoms by managing it well. Treatment will vary depending on the symptoms experienced. As the course of multiple sclerosis is unpredictable, ongoing monitoring is required. Changes in need and disability may require treatment changes.

Medications :

Self-medication is not advised in case of multiple sclerosis. The doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve muscle spasm and pain. For acute attacks, corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce the duration and severity of the attack. Medicines that modify the progression of the disease and the number and duration of the attack is known as the disease-modifying drugs.

Few steps to follow

Physical and occupational therapy: Exercise programmes can help maintain muscle flexibility, reduce muscle stiffness and recover from the attacks. It aids to assist mobility and daily activity can help maintain independence.

Counselling and support: This will help with depression and anxiety along with lifestyle limitations mainly with multiple sclerosis

Lifestyle modifications: Maintaining healthy body weight with a nutritious balanced diet promotes overall well being. Adequate rest along with good exercises will help to take care of multiple sclerosis.

Alternative therapy: Yoga, meditation, naturotherapy massage herbal therapy is beneficial for the patients of multiple sclerosis.

Vitamin supplement: A multivitamin is generally prescribed to meet up the important and essential nutrients in the body. Also, a fish oil supplement can be taken as the outer layer of the nerve which is the myelin sheath is damaged.

Ketogenic diet: The ketogenic diet benefits the body at the cellular level. It increases the amount of available to cells thus increasing the energy usage at the cellular level while reducing oxidative stress and increasing the antioxidant level in the blood. This combined effect will protect the nerve cell and the brain cells which will slow down the neurodegeneration. One benefit of ketones is that it may help protect the body at the cellular level. The ketogenic diet may help with weight loss, protection of cells, reduced inflammation and lower physical stress levels which may help the patients of multiple sclerosis.

Trying reflexology: Applying pressure to specific areas on feet, hands and ears. Reflexology is a non-conventional treatment that the doctors do not prescribe. However, some patients may experience relief as far as nerve pain is concerned

The main important thing for multiple sclerosis patients is to help them lead a happy and long life. Many tailored treatments are available to relieve the symptoms reduced the severity and duration of the treatment to halt or slow the progression of the disease. Comprehensive care should be given to the patients of multiple sclerosis with occupational and physical therapy to assist patients to carry out their daily routines.

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