Multiple sclerosis (MS, disseminated sclerosis, encephalomyelitis disseminata) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. Multiple sclerosis is divided into the following categories: Relapsing-remitting MS, Secondary progressive MS, Primary progressive MS and Progressive-relapsing MS.
Individuals with multiple sclerosis can present almost any form of neurological symptom . The most common problems are sensory, autonomic, visual and motor. The specific symptoms are determined by where the lesions are located within the nervous system. General presentations include the following:
Many patients seek medical help following an initial attack of symptoms often referred to as a clinically isolated syndrome or CIS. Some people who have a CIS do not go on to develop full multiple sclerosis and it is difficult to predict which patient will develop it and which one wouldn’t .
Since there is no definitive test for it, diagnosing multiple sclerosis is often a challenge. This is because there are many conditions that present the same symptoms as MS. For a confirmed diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, the doctor must find the following:
Presently there is no cure for MS but symptoms of MS can often be eased with the right medications .
Treatments generally fall into four categories:
Except on rare occasions when the disease is severe, multiple sclerosis isn’t fatal. Many people with multiple sclerosis go on live to the average life expectancy for their sex in their region of residence. Most of them die of natural causes that affect everyone else . However, the symptoms of MS can negatively affect the quality of life. This is perhaps why the rate of suicide amongst patients with multiple sclerosis is higher than normal.
Most patients with multiple sclerosis do not become severely disabled. Generally, most people diagnosed of the condition remain ambulatory without need for a wheelchair 20 years from time of initial diagnosis. However, many may have to use some sort of walking aid.
As is the cases with most autoimmune conditions, the exact cause of MS is unknown. However, it is believed that a combination of environmental and genetic factors play different roles.
Although multiple sclerosis isn’t hereditary, it appears that genetic factors help in making certain individuals susceptible to the disease process that leads to this condition. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is where the most significant genetic link to MS occurs. The MHC is a cluster of genes found on the Chromosome 6 that are important for the functions of the immune system.
Also, multiple sclerosis is most common in specific geographical regions in the world especially areas that are most far off from the equator (northern Europe and northern American countries). With the cluster of Multiple Sclerosis in this region, researchers have continued to investigate the role played by toxins, infections, deficiency in certain vitamins like the Vitamin D may be playing a major role in triggering MS in individuals that are susceptible genetically .
The number of individuals with multiple sclerosis around the world has been put at 2.5million approximately meaning that 30 out of every 100,000 people develop the condition. However, the rates vary greatly in based on regions . It has been estimated that 18,000 deaths are recorded each year as a result of this condition. In America, incidence is 8.3 per 1000,000, in Europe 80 per 100,000. In South East Asia incidence is 2.8 per 100,000 people while in Africa rates are less than 0.5 cases per 100,000.
Rates of multiple sclerosis may appear to be increasing but this can be put down to better diagnosis available across board today.
The disease is seen mostly in adults in their late twenties or early thirties and rarely in childhood or after 50 years of age. Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is mostly seen in people in their late 50s. Also, as is the case with most autoimmune disorders, the disease is more common in women and the trend has continued to increase. In rare cases where children are affected, more females than males are affected.
The three major characteristics of MS are the formation of lesions or plaques in the central nervous system, destruction of the myelin sheath of neurons and inflammation . These interact in a complex manner that is not yet understood till date to initiate the disintegration of the nerve tissue and in turn, bring about the signs and symptoms of the disease. Damage is believed to be caused at least in part by attack on the nervous system by the individual's immune system.
There is no way to prevent multiple sclerosis and its attacks.
Also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease that damages the insulating covers of the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord . This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate with the body and this brings about a wide range of symptoms which may cause psychiatric, mental or physical problems for the affected individual.
Multiple sclerosis takes several forms with each new symptom building up over a period of time (progressive forms) or occurring in relapsing forms (isolated attacks). Between the various attacks, some of the symptoms of MS disappears but it is possible to see permanent neurological problems as the disease continues to progress .
Multiple sclerosis is a disease that turns your immune system against the protective sheath covering your nerves (known as the myelin sheath).
When this happens, the communication between your brain and other parts of your body is affected. At the end of the day the nerves affected may deteriorate. This process is not reversible yet.
The signs and symptoms of this condition varies widely as it is dependent on the amount of damage done to the nerves and what particular nerves were affected. In severe cases, people with this condition lose their ability to walk independently and in some instances, the individual may not see development of any new symptoms.
Currently, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis but with treatments, the patient can recover properly from attacks and the symptoms of the condition can be managed. The treatments can also help in modifying the course of the disease.