- What Is It?
- 11 Early Signs
- Age Group
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain) by damaging and destroying the protective myelin sheath around the nerve fibers. Someone with multiple sclerosis might develop problems with muscle control, vision, bladder control and other body functions. The distinctive feature of multiple sclerosis is symptoms may affect different parts of the body months or sometimes years apart.
What are usually the first signs of multiple sclerosis?
The effects of multiple sclerosis are often different for everyone who develops the disease. Some people have fewer symptoms and do not need treatment. Others will have trouble getting around and doing daily tasks. Below are a few common signs; the first five signs are the most common in patients with multiple sclerosis.
- Abnormal sensations (tingling sensation or paresthesia) are the most common and early symptom where a patient feels pricking sensation.
- Muscle pain;
- Nerve pain.
- Blurred or double vision.
- Speech and swallowing problems
- Bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction
- Body balance, thinking, and emotional problems
- Muscle cramps
- Heat intolerance
What age do people get MS?
- Multiple sclerosis is diagnosed in females from ages 20 to 40. It may occur at any age and can involve both genders.
- It is possible to have MS begin in childhood or over 40 years of age, but it occurs less frequently in these age groups.
- Multiple sclerosis in children and teens is difficult to diagnose.
What are the causes of MS?
Doctors and researchers don’t fully understand the causes of multiple sclerosis, however there are few common risk factors:
How to diagnose multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is difficult to diagnose due to highly variable symptoms. It is important to rule out other conditions when diagnosing MS. A neurologist usually takes medical history and orders the tests below:
What is the treatment for multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis has no cure, however; multiple treatments available may improve body function and debilitating symptoms. Doctors might prescribe pain killers, antidepressants and other drugs, like muscle relaxers, tranquilizers, or botulinum toxin (Botox), to ease muscle spasms and to make MS attacks shorter and less severe.
Several drugs that may slowdown the disease and help in preventing nerve damage are used in treatment for MS which include:
- Beta interferon (Avonex, Betaseron, and Rebif)
- Cladribrine (Maven clad)
- Dalfampridine (Ampyra)
- Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)
- Glatiramer (Copaxone)
- Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
- Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus)
- Siponimod (Mayzent)
- Teriflunomide (Aubagio)
Some studies suggest that vitamin D, which you synthesize from sunlight exposure, may strengthen your immune system and protect you from MS. Some people with higher chances of getting the disease move to sunnier regions to lower the risk of multiple sclerosis.
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MS (Multiple Sclerosis) vs. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Differences and SimilaritiesALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) are both diseases of the nervous system (neurodegenerative). ALS is a disease in which the nerve cells in the body are attacked by the immune system, although it's not considered an autoimmune disease by some scientists. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the insulated covering of the nerves (myelin sheath) in the CNS (central nervous system) degenerate, or deteriorate.
Scientists don't know the exact cause of either problem. However, they have discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the SOD1 enzyme were associated with some cases of familial ALS. Scientists also theorize that multiple sclerosis may be caused by infection or vitamin D deficiency. ALS occurs between 50-70 years of age (the average age of occurrence ALS is 55), and mostly affects men. While MS occurs between 20-60 years of age, and mostly affects women. About 30,000 people in the US have ALS, and an average of 5,000 new diagnoses per year (that's about 15 new cases per week). Worldwide, MS affects more than 2.3 million people, with about 10,000 new cases diagnosed each year (that's about 200 new diagnoses per week).
Some of the signs and symptoms of both diseases include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, problems walking, fatigue, slurred speech, and problems swallowing. ALS signs and symptoms that are different from MS include problems holding the head upright, clumsiness, muscle cramps and twitches, problems holding objects, and uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. MS signs and symptoms that are different from ALS include vision problems, vertigo and balance problems, sexual problems, memory problems, depression, mood swings, and digestive problems.
There is no cure for either disease, however the prognosis and life expectancy are different. Multiple sclerosis is not a fatal condition, while ALS progresses rapidly and leads to death.
Alternative Treatment for MS (CAM for MS)The term alternative therapy, in general, is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning to lifestyle changes.
Baclofen PumpThe medication baclofen treats symptoms of spasticity in patient with MS. Side effects of baclofen include sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and confusion.
Botox to Treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Botulinum toxin is a muscle-relaxing medication used to decrease spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. Botulinum toxin is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulinum toxin available for therapeutic use.
Is MS Contagious? (Multiple Sclerosis)Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a degenerative disease of the covering around the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS). Researchers and doctors don't know the exact cause, but many theorize that it may be due to environmental triggers, an autoimmune disease, and viruses (infections).
Symptoms of MS include vision changes, paralysis, vertigo, heat intolerance, slurred speech, sexual dysfunction, and urinary incontinence (the inability to urinate).
There's no vaccine or cure for MS, but the progression and symptoms of the disease can be treated.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
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Making an MS Friendly HomeAdults with multiple sclerosis may be at risk for injuries, hazards, and falling at home. Some simple home modifications can protect your health and safety and facilitate fall prevention. Reduce your risk of accidents and prevent hazards with these tips.
MS QuizMultiple Sclerosis is a debilitating neurological condition. Take the MS Quiz to test your knowledge of the causes, symptoms, risks and treatments.
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What Does an MS Attack Feel Like?Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder in which your own antibodies (autoantibodies) start attacking and destroying the nerve cells of your body. This disease affects the central nervous system, which is responsible for various functions including, balance, and coordination. An MS attack can include tingling and numbness, cramps and tightness in the muscles, fatigue, dizziness, a triad of abnormal speech, abnormal eye movement, and hand tremor; problems with balance and coordination, visual disturbances, bladder problems, bowel incontinence, face pain, pain, and intolerance to heat.
What Is the Cause of Cotard’s Syndrome?Cotard’s syndrome, also known as walking corpse syndrome, is a neuropsychiatric condition in which people develop false beliefs that their body parts are missing, or they are dying or they don’t exist. The exact cause of Cotard’s syndrome is unknown, but certain conditions are likely cause this syndrome, including dementia, encephalopathy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, subdural bleeding, epilepsy, and migraine.
Who Is at High Risk for Multiple Sclerosis?The cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) is not known. But scientists believe that a combination of various factors may put an individual at a higher risk for MS. These factors include immunologic factors, environmental factors, low vitamin D levels, smoking, obesity, Epstein-Barr virus, genetics, and the female gender.