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Key Information About Multiple Sclerosis

Updated on June 15, 2019
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Srikanth is passionate about helping people improve their quality of life.

Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable illness of the central nervous system. It disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and other parts of the body.

Around 2.3 million people live with this long-lasting disease globally. Global prevalence of this condition is about 270 per 100,000 people.

Studies have shown that 10 years after disease onset, approximately 50 percent of patients are using a cane to walk and 15 percent need a wheel chair.

MRI of Multiple Sclerosis

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system wherein the protective covering (myelin sheath) around nerves is damaged, resulting in neurological defects.

Causes

Doctors still do not understand what causes multiple sclerosis; but ongoing research shows that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Most people receive a diagnosis between the ages of 20 and 40 years. Most forms of this progressive disease are twice as likely to affect women than men.

There are many theories regarding the reason that people develop this condition. These theories range from vitamin D deficiency to viral infection. Even excessive consumption of salt is being looked at as possible cause.

World Multiple Sclerosis Day is observed on May 30. The day is meant to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms

Fatigue, weakness, spasticity, loss of balance, sensory deficit, tingling, blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, pain on eye movement, involuntary muscle spasms, bladder problems, sexual problems, pain, cognitive issues, itching, depression, mood swings, irritability and numbness are some common symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

"I had numbness in my feet, so my doctor first said I had poor choice in footwear.... But I of course still had it, plus numbness in my hands, a few months later, and my doctor then said it was because of homework and studying. When I started my first job I had double vision, and an ophthalmologist was actually the first person to mention it could be MS, and I was diagnosed soon after," said Jennifer Digmann, writer and multiple sclerosis patient.

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

I am disabled. I fall sometimes. I drop things. My memory is foggy. And my left side is asking for directions from a broken GPS. But we are doing it. And I laugh and I don’t know exactly what I will do precisely but I will do my best.

— Selma Blair Beitner, American actress and multiple sclerosis patient.

Selma Blair

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons | Source

Treatment

Treatment of multiple sclerosis has 2 aspects: immunomodulatory therapy (IMT) for the underlying immune disorder and therapies to relieve or modify symptoms.

Most neurologists agree that a course of high-dose corticosteroids is the best treatment for a severe MS relapse.

Intravenous methylprednisolone is typically given in 3 or 5-day courses with 1 gram (1000 mg) of steroids infused daily.

Early diagnosis and availability of new drugs and treatment options can help improve the quality of a MS patients’ life.

— Dr Satish Khadilkar, Dean, Bombay Hospital and Medical Center.

Prevention

Do not use tobacco products. Ensure that your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9; yoga will help you in this.

People who are obese at age 20 are twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis later in life as people who are not obese.

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Multiple sclerosis didn’t stop me becoming the best in the country.

— Aimi Bullock, UK’s number one golfer with a disability and multiple sclerosis patient.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Srikanth R

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