MS is a central nervous system illness that causes nerve degeneration. It causes a person’s brain and spinal cord to send incorrect signals, leading to problems with mobility, balance, muscle weakness, and pain.
MS has no known origin, but it is considered an autoimmune illness in which the immune system erroneously assaults the cells that coat and protect nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord (myelin). Other factors, including genetics and infection, might also contribute.
There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), but medicines and lifestyle changes can help manage your symptoms. You and your doctor work together to find the proper treatment for you which is safe and causes the fewest side effects.
You may start with disease-modifying therapies that slow the progress of your MS and prevent new lesions from forming in your brain or spinal cord. These medications can also ease some MS-related symptoms, including fatigue and muscle spasms.
Medicines to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system can also be used. These can relieve muscle spasms and pain, as well as other symptoms.
Some medicines can also be given in high doses to treat severe MS attacks. They may be able to decrease relapses and hasten recovery from the attack.
If these medicines don’t work, you may be referred to a medical specialist for other treatments. These include drugs that target the immune system, like cyclophosphamide or azathioprine.
Researchers are also studying stem cell therapy to restore function in affected nerve cells, and other potential treatments are developing. These include beta interferon, which can reduce relapses and improve quality of life.
Your doctor can also recommend other non-drug options, including acupuncture, exercise, rehabilitation focused on function, emotional national MS society support groups, and a healthier diet. These non-drug treatments can help you control your symptoms and feel more comfortable with your diagnosis.
Many factors can affect a person’s risk of developing MS. Some are related to genes, while others involve lifestyle or environmental factors. These factors can also affect how fast the disease progresses or how severe it will be in a person’s lifetime.
Having an immediate family member with MS has been linked to a slightly increased risk of MS (around 2%), but not as much as other factors. It is because MS can only be passed on to a child once, so it’s less likely that someone in your family will get it.
Gender is also a factor, with women 2 to 3 times more likely to get the disease than men. It may be because hormones make females more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than males.
Geographically, people who live in countries with temperate climates are at higher risk of developing MS. In addition, having low levels of vitamin D, produced when exposed to sunlight, increases your risk of MS.
Other factors can influence a person’s risk of getting MS, but these have yet to be thoroughly studied. These factors include a person’s age, geographic location, and ethnicity. Other factors include having certain autoimmune diseases, being exposed to an Epstein-Barr virus before puberty, and living in areas with less sunshine than is typical.
MS affects the nerves in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). These nerves send messages that control your senses, movement, thoughts, and emotions. However, when the protective myelin coating is damaged, these messages are sent too slowly and must be appropriately communicated. As a result, it can cause a range of symptoms, including difficulty moving your arms or legs, numbness, tremors, and loss of balance.
Some people with MS also have problems with their bowels and bladder. These may include constipation or a need to urinate frequently. These can make it difficult to eat and drink and painful to pass urine.
Other common MS symptoms include pain, tingling sensations in the skin (paresthesias), and muscle stiffness or spasms. These are usually felt in the arms and legs but can also affect the chest.
A few people with MS experience a sudden onset of double vision, eye pain, or uncontrolled eye movements (optic neuritis). It is caused by damage to the optic nerve in your eyes, which can cause vision issues.
These problems can be a one-off occurrence but are often repeated and can come and go over time. They can also be linked to other conditions or disorders, so it’s essential to have a proper diagnosis.
To diagnose, a doctor will carry out a physical and neurological exam. They will then ask you about your symptoms and consider your medical history. Tests can include blood tests and an MRI scan of your brain. They will also check your cerebrospinal fluid through a lumbar puncture or spinal tap.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an illness that causes damage to the myelin sheath, which protects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It may affect a single nerve or many nerves at once. Your doctor will do a physical examination and blood tests to help them make the right diagnosis.
In most people with MS, the first symptoms start at around age 20. After that, some develop a mild disease, and others have more severe symptoms. After that, the condition worsens, but new treatments can slow the progression and reduce symptoms.
85% of people with MS have the most common type, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). They usually have attacks or flare-ups when their symptoms worsen for a day, a week, or months. These attacks are followed by periods of recovery when symptoms improve.
If your doctor suspects you have MS, they will conduct a neurological exam and blood tests to rule out other diseases that produce similar symptoms. They might also do a lumbar puncture to check your cerebrospinal fluid (CFS) level.