Neuromyelitis Optica - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of neuromyelitis optica?

Individuals with NMO develop optic neuritis, which causes pain in the eye and vision loss, and transverse myelitis, which causes weakness, numbness, and sometimes paralysis of the arms and legs, along with sensory disturbances and loss of bladder and bowel control. NMO leads to loss of myelin, which is a fatty substance that surrounds nerve fibers and helps nerve signals move from cell to cell. The syndrome can also damage nerve fibers and leave areas of broken-down tissue. In the disease process of NMO, for reasons that aren't yet clear, immune system cells and antibodies attack and destroy myelin cells in the optic nerves and the spinal cord.

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Comment from: NotMS, Female (Patient) Published: June 02

I had a major headache for about 4 days, then lost vision in my right eye. I was hospitalized and found I had optic neuritis (neuromyelitis optica). MRIs were normal. I was treated with 1,000 mg of steroids through IV for 3 days, then oral steroids. Vision came back a little, but vision was never the same again. This was 3 years ago. It has recurred about 7 times since, the last time when I left the hospital, I was back in 2 days later, unable to walk... at all.

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