The central nervous system that mainly constitutes of the brain and the spinal cord is largely responsible for its proper and prompt functioning of nerves and muscles.. Any deterioration in the functioning or part of the system causes disorders in the smooth operations of the mind and body. One such disorder termed as Multiple Sclerosis, a potentially disabling of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
Recurrent attacks by the immune system causes inflammation at the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers causes communication problems between brain and the rest of body.
This inflammation gradually begins to disrupt the messages travelling along the nerves.
After a certain period of time the inflammation reaches a stage where the nerves can no longer communicate messages and tends to slow them down or, send them the wrong way, cause them to jumble up or stop them from getting through completely.
It is this disruption that ultimately leads to the symptoms and signs of MS.
Even In cases where the inflammation reduces or goes away, it tends to leave behind scarring of the myelin sheath (sclerosis).
Permanent damage to the underlying nerves is caused by the frequent and repeated attack made by the immune system.
The affects of the attack may vary from having problems with vision, balance, muscle control, to other basic body functions due to the adverse effects it has on the nerves , spinal cord and the brain .
These effects also often vary from person to person while some May have mild symptoms and don’t need treatment while others have trouble getting around and doing daily tasks.
Types of MS
MS may be categorized into the following four categories:
Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS): this is often referred to as the first episode that a person experiences. The affects of this last for at least 24 hours and is often a onetime episode .
Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS): this is one of the most common forms of MS in which the symptoms tend to flare up and also reoccur thus termed as “relapse”. 85 percent of people suffering from MS experience this form of it .
An attack however, is followed by a time of recovery when you have few or no symptoms, called remission
Primary progressive MS (PPMS): this is categorized as one of the worst forms of MS . A person suffering from PPMS faces great difficulty because the symptoms tend to progress over a period of time and the condition only worsens .
What makes it challenging for the doctors is the fact that a person may witness symptoms for a few years without recognizable flaring , before doctors can actually diagnose worsening of the condition .
Around 10-15 percent of people suffering from MS are affected by this type .
Secondary progressive MS (SPMS): in SPMS After initial episodes or relapse and remission, the disease tends to progress at a steady pace
- People suffering from or diagnosed with MS May witness the following symptoms.
- Numbness and Tingling
- Vision and speech disorders
- Muscular Spasms
- Sexual disorders
- Walking disabilities
- Pain in the back and neck
- Tingling sensations
- Bowel and bladder dysfunctionalities
The severity of these symptoms May vary from person to person and at every stage of the disease.
MS is an autoimmune condition and like most neurological dysfunctions this too does not have any specific determining factors. In spite of study and research Finding an answer to why the nervous system of an individual behaves the way it does and why it is unable send the right signals or why it tends to send the wrong signals to various parts of the body remains a challenge to the medical fraternity .
However , research and study do define a few underlying risk factors that might lead to MS – including Genetics ,Immune system , Environment andInfections.Environmental factors such as lack of vitamin and nutrients in the body and also factors such as excessive cigarette smoking have been shown to increase the risk of relapses.
Does MS always cause paralysis? IS it fatal?
Ms does not always lead to paralysis of the body. It is noticed that in most cases people do not become severely disabled. With constant research and development in the field of medicine, life expectancy and quality of life of patients with MS has increased over time. Many of the complications faced during the disease by both- the patient and the doctor, are now manageable
How to detect MS and what are the treatment options are available?
There is no single diagnostic test for MS. MRI is used to improve confidence in a clinical diagnosis of MS or to make a diagnosis of MS in early stages of the disease. This may assist in showing dissemination in space and time (for eg, new lesions on follow-up MRI). Also a CSF analysis may be done to rule out oligoclonal bands
Goals of Disease Management
Course of disease in MS is highly varied and unpredictable. Acute phase treatment usually involves steroids. Disease modifying drugs (DMT’s) are also made available so as to assist a patient in dealing with the disease better. These medications help to reduce inflammation in the nervous system, helps in reducing the frequency of attacks and progression of disability.
In spite of constant study and research MS as a disease cannot be cured or reversed completely. Treatments and therapies are applied so as to help reduce or slow down the process of impact of degeneration
What precautions MS patients should take?
It is important to identify triggers. (For example infection, stress, inadequate sleep or systemic illness) Each patient may e affected by a particular trigger in a different way as for most patents the triggers may also vary. These triggers that may lead to worsening of symptoms must be avoided and in case of any episode immediate consultation must be taken