What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disease which causes disability, especially in younger people. It is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, which involves spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves.
This condition occurs when the patient’s immune system attacks and loosens the myelin sheath which is an insulating layer that forms around the nerves. This myelin sheath helps to transmit the electrical pulses quickly around the nerve cells.
MS - Symptoms
The loosening of the myelin sheath around the nerves triggers the symptoms in the patient. Depending on whether the affected part is the brain or the spinal cord, the symptoms can vary. Some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis are listed below
- Blurring of vision or double vision
- Tingling and numbness at one side of the body
- Motor weakness
- Balance and coordination problems
- Bladder dysfunction resulting in urinary problems
Need for early treatment
Multiple sclerosis symptoms usually have a remitting and relapsing course; that is, the symptoms can occur in an on-and-off style.
If a patient has severe multiple sclerosis with repeated symptoms, there is a great chance of developing a permanent disability.
Thus it is imperative to diagnose the condition early by noticing the symptoms and starting the treatment to eliminate the possibility of permanent disability.
MS – Diagnosis
All over the world, data suggest that women in the 20s to 40sage groups are more affected by multiple sclerosis when compared to men. Many tools help in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in these patients.
First an MRI with contrast is performed for both brain and spinal cord. This will help indicate multiple sclerosis activity by indicating the pattern of the inflammation in the demyelinating lesions (where the myelin is absent).
Next fluid from spinal cord is tested, and along with it some blood tests are also performed. This collectively can indicate the presence of multiple sclerosis disease in a patient.
Also Read: What Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
MS – Treatment
Once the patient is confirmed to have multiple sclerosis, the treatment is started. People who experience the symptoms do not have to panic since effective MS treatments are available, but you will have to report it immediately to your doctor to proceed towards diagnosis and treatment.
- Initially steroids are administered and then gradually stopped for the patient who develops acute events like blurring of vision and such.
- With this, disease-modifying agents are also administered. There are a lot of these disease- modifying agents available now, and most of these do not have severe side effects.
Multiple Sclerosis Awareness
The occurrence of brain diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s is constantly on the rise. May 30th is observed as World Multiple Sclerosis Day, and it is important to raise awareness among people about this particular disease. This can help save many lives and fight the disease on a global scale.
Take-home message: If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms on a family member, friend, or yourself, do not hesitate to get medical help. Kauvery Hospital has some of the best brain specialists in Chennai and can safely help you overcome the condition.
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