Multiple Sclerosis: The Invisible Disease

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Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. It causes inflammation and damage to the nerves, leading to fatigue, numbness, vision problems, tremors, and difficulty walking.

There are two types of MS: relapsing-remitting MS and primary progressive MS. Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is characterized by periods of relapse followed by remission. Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is characterized by gradual progression without remission.

If you have been diagnosed with MS, you may be wondering what treatments are available to treat the condition. In this article, We will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for MS.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The most common symptom of MS is a sudden onset of tingling or weakness in your limbs. Other possible signs include blurred vision, double vision, trouble speaking, muscle spasms, pain, loss of balance, urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, depression, anxiety, memory impairment, cognitive difficulties, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, paresthesia, visual disturbances, slurred speech, bladder control issues, and mood changes.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Although there isn’t any known cause of MS, it has been linked to certain factors, including genetics, environment, diet, stress levels, infections, vitamin D deficiency, smoking, obesity, hormonal imbalances, and exposure to toxins like mercury.

Treatment Options For Multiple Sclerosis

Currently, no cure exists for MS; however, several medications can help manage its symptoms.

These drugs fall into three categories: immunomodulators, corticosteroids, and symptomatic therapies. Immunosuppressants work by suppressing the immune response so that the body doesn’t attack itself. Corticosteroids reduce swelling and relieve nerve pain. Symptomatic treatments address specific symptoms associated with MS.

Immunomodulator Drugs

These drugs target different aspects of the immune system to slow down the progress of MS. They also prevent future attacks from occurring. The following list includes commonly used, immunomodulatory agents: Interferon-beta 1a – This drug slows the rate at which new lesions form on brain scans. Interferons are proteins produced naturally within our bodies that play essential roles in fighting infection. There are many forms of interferon, but only one type — called interferon beta 1a — is approved by the FDA for treating people with MS.

Glatiramer acetate – Glatiramer acetate helps stimulate T cells, white blood cells that fight off viruses and bacteria. By nurturing these cells, glatiramer acetate reduces their activity and prevents them from attacking healthy tissue.

Natalizumab – Natalizumab works by blocking molecules involved in cell migration across the blood-brain barrier. Blocking these molecules stops lymphocytes, another kind of white blood cell, from entering the CNS. Lymphocytes usually migrate through the bloodstream to sites where they’re needed. However, when natalizumab blocks these molecules, lymphocytes cannot enter the brain, spinal cord, optic nerves, or other parts of the Central Nervous System. As a result, fewer inflammatory cells accumulate in areas of the brain and spinal cord affected by MS.

Fampridine – Fampridine temporarily improves mobility in patients who experience gait disturbance due to MS. It does not affect the course of the disease.

Corticosteroid Medications

There are two types of steroids available as treatments for MS: oral and topical. Oral steroids have more side effects than topical ones because they reach all tissues throughout the body. Topical steroids are applied directly to the skin and may be effective against localized inflammation without affecting other organs. Commonly prescribed topical steroid creams include triamcinolone acetonide 0.1% cream, clobetasol propionate 0.05%, betamethasone valerate 0.025%, uocinonide0.01%, mometasone furoate 0.1%.

Other Treatments

In addition to medication, lifestyle modifications such as exercise, nutrition, weight management, sleep hygiene, and stress reduction can improve individuals living with MS. Some studies suggest that acupuncture might benefit those suffering from MS. More research needs to be done before this treatment becomes widely accepted.

MS Facts & Statistics

• Approximately 2 million Americans live with MS today.

• In Canada, approximately 100,000 Canadians suffer from MS.

• About 400,000 Europeans are diagnosed each year.

• Worldwide, an estimated 350,000 cases occur every year. So MS is a prevalent disease. You are not alone.

Fight to live long and try to be happy rather than cursing yourself!

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