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: I'm still here, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 17

I have neuromyelitis optica, I got diagnosed in 2007. No one knew what it was. They though it was multiple sclerosis, then transverse myelitis. I almost died in the hospital. Then I met a wonderful doctor who knew what I have. Now I am being treated with Rituxan and steroids though an IV or infusion. My remission has lasted from six to nine months. I also take other medications to give me a better quality of life. I just want others to know, not to give up, there is help out there. You have to demand tests and treatment. I can walk now but with a limp. The spasms are under control and my vision came back.

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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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