Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease. There are things called the myelin sheaths that are found around your brain and spinal cord. When they are damaged it can cause multiple sclerosis to occur. In this article we will look at the symptoms, causes, treatments and prognosis of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis does not have a set group of signs and symptoms. This is due to the random appearance of lesions in different parts of the nervous system. The sufferer will often have neurological symptoms but it really can be anything. It could be muscle weakness, muscle spasms, very pronounced reflexes, difficulty moving, loss of sensitivity, numbness, pins and needles and tingling; problems with swallowing or speech; difficulties with balance and coordination, visual problems, chronic pain, fatigue and bowel and bladder difficulties.
Emotional symptoms such as unstable mood or depression and cognitive difficulties are also common.
It is speculated that multiple sclerosis is caused by environmental and genetic factors. The likelihood of someone getting multiple sclerosis is higher if they have close family that suffers from the disease. However, these numbers are not high enough for it to be considered a hereditary disease. There is also believed to be a certain link between genes found on the major hitocompatibility complex and multiple sclerosis.
Geographically, it has been shown that the further away an individual is located from the equator the higher the risk they have of getting multiple sclerosis. So, it is believed that vitamin D that the body naturally obtains from the sun plays a part in protecting the individual from contracting the disease. However, there are exceptions to this. There are certain groups (ethnic, religious, etc.) found in some northern climates that seem to have a lower rate of multiple sclerosis. Reasons for this are unknown.
The type of treatment you receive will depend on whether or not you are in remission or the disease is active. Many professionals recommend early treatment with medicine when it comes to multiple sclerosis. In many cases this has been shown to prevent permanent damage to the nervous system, which generally happens without initial treatment. Some of the medicine names for early treatment are: mitoxantrone, interferon beta, fingolimod, natalizumab, and glatiramer. What they do is stop or change the behavior of the immune system. These medicines do not cure MS. They simply reduce the number of relapses and delay the disability that MS causes. These medicines you will also take throughout the entirety of your life with MS. Other forms of treatment for multiple sclerosis include: physical therapy, disease-modifying therapy, and occupational therapy.
The prognosis for multiple sclerosis is not that bad. People generally live up into their 70s. There are a number of factors, however, that will dictate how long you will live with the disease. For instance, the number of attacks you have in the first few years of the onset of the disease, how old you are when you get the disease, as well as the sensory symptoms that are experienced at the onset of the disease. The subtype of the multiple sclerosis will also help determine your prognosis. Suicide becomes more common for those suffering with multiple sclerosis.