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Multiple sclerosis

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The central nervous system is made up the spinal cord and the brain. Multiple sclerosis is disease that attacks the central nervous system leading to a chronic and often debilitating life for the victim. The myelin sheath is a fatty coating that protects the nerves to the central nervous system. Patients with multiple sclerosis have antibodies and white blood cells which chronically attack the myelin sheath, as the body mistakes it for a foreign substance. This causes damage and inflammation to the sheath and eventually to the nerves which it is designed to protect.

Multiple sclerosis affects approximately 300,000 patients in the United States alone. It is unpredictable and can range in its severity. Twice as many women are diagnosed worldwide with multiple sclerosis as men, and as many as 1 million people in the word suffer from M.S. Most people begin to show the first signs of a deteriorating nervous system anywhere between ages 20 and 40.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS SYMPTOMS

Not all patients will experience the same symptoms, as symptoms tend to vary not only by severity, but also by which part of the nervous system is under the heaviest attack. Symptoms are likely to include numbness or weakness that is typically dominant on one side of the body, or affects the lower half of the body, eye pain when the eyes movement, gradual loss of vision usually starting with one eye and then involving the second, random tingling throughout the body, pain, double vision, blurry vision, fatigue, dizziness, tremor, loss of coordination, inability to walk steadily, the sensations of electric shocks with specific head movements, sexual dysfunction, bowel and bladder control problems, slurred speech, muscle stiffness, spastic muscle movements, forgetfulness, changes in behavior, or paralysis.
Multiple sclerosis
Image: Multiple Sclerosis

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS CAUSES

Multiple sclerosis is caused by a misfiring immune system that attacks the myelin of the spinal cord and the brain. The myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the nervous system and protects it from damage. It is not clear why some patients develop this misfiring of the immune system while others do not, although a combination of genetics and the contraction of a virus that retains a similar make up to the protein in the myelin are likely factors.

A patient with multiple sclerosis is likely to experience symptoms at a higher degree after the immune system has been active such as after a cold, or the flu or any type of illness. This increased activity of the immune system is known as exacerbation.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS RISK FACTOR

Risk factors are basically unknown, although there is speculation among the scientific community. Factors such as geographical location, heredity, and environmental factors may contribute to a patient’s susceptibility to developing multiple sclerosis. People who live in temperate climates, have exposure to viruses and bacteria, and have a relative with multiple sclerosis seem to develop the disease more than others.
Neurological disorders
Image: Neurological Disorders

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS DIAGNOSIS

There is no test to determine if a patient is experiencing multiple sclerosis. M.S. is usually diagnosed through a variety of factors, and there is no other better explanation for the symptoms being reported. A neurological examination can help to determine the state of the nervous system. Imaging exams such as MRIs and spinal taps may be performed to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms, and an evoked potential test can measure the electrical stimulation the brain receives. A medical history as well as a family medical history should be assessed at the time of determining which tests the patient should receive.

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS TREATMENT

Sometimes multiple sclerosis is left untreated, in mild cases the physician may feel this is the best alternative sot he medication may be more effective later. In other cases medications such as beta interferons, muscle relaxants, medications to reduce fatigue, and medications for depression, bowels, bladder, and muscle stiffness.

It’s important that patients with multiple sclerosis get enough rest to reduce fatigue, keep cool and avoid exposure to too much heat, and exercise as much as possible. Dealing with multiple sclerosis can be painful, exhausting and frustrating, and maintaining a healthy diet and a positive outlook can help tremendously. Research as it pertains to multiple sclerosis is still searching for a cure. There is hope that the future will look much brighter for victims of M.S.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

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