Multiple Sclerosis: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis: Risk Factors, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

What is Multiple Sclerosis?


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord and causes demyelination; disruption of the myelin that insulates and protects nerve cells. It is classified as an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.



Risk Factors:

  • Gender: Female has two to three times risk
  • Age 15-60 years old
  • Rarely happen to children and teens
  • But pediatric MS is still possible


MS Symptoms:

  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Thinking problems
  • Paralysis
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence)
  • Pregnancy problems
  • Incontinence (or conversely, urinary retention)
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Incoordination of muscles
  • Tremor
  • Painful involuntary muscle contractions
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue



Types of MS:

  1. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS),
  2. Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS), the most common type
  3. Primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS)
  4. Progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (PRMS)


Diagnosis:


Unlike other diseases, there is no specific test to diagnose a person with MS, doctors and other health care professionals only rely upon a patient's history, physical exam, and tests such as MRI, lumbar puncture, and evoked potential testing (speed of nerve impulses); other tests may be done to rule out other diseases that may cause similar symptoms so the process is long.




Treatment options include:


  • IV steroids
  • interferon injections (Rebif)
  • glatiramer acetate (Copaxone)
  • dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera
  • Many others, depending on the patient's symptoms


Treating the symptoms is the primary objective to stop the disease from progressing, people with MS have a normal life expectancy as well. Currently, there's nothing you can do to prevent getting MS, and research is ongoing into developing new medications, immune system modifications, and other ways to identify potential causes of MS.






Reference:

https://www.medicinenet.com/

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