Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. MS makes it difficult for the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate effectively with one another. In a healthy individual, nerve cells transmit and receive electrical signals through axons, which are tendril-like projections covered in a fatty insulating substance called myelin. MS destroys the myelin insulation of these axons, making it difficult for the nerve cells to reliably send and receive signals. MS can occur in persons of all ages but typically is first diagnosed in early adulthood.

Causes

MS was first described in 1868 and medical science knows a great deal about the disease processes, but the cause of MS remains unknown. Research is ongoing to determine if there is a genetic risk for MS or if infections or environmental factors may play a role. Women are more likely to develop MS than men, but reasons for this are unclear.

Terminology

Multiple sclerosis (MS) refers to scleroses or scars (lesions) that typically occur in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. The disease itself may also be called disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata. MS affects the myelin sheath that covers the axons of neurons by destroying oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for maintaining myelin. In some cases, the body can perform remyelination (repairing the myelin) but the myelin insulation can never be entirely restored. Four main categories of MS have been identified by the U.S. National Multiple Sclerosis Society based on how the disease progresses and how frequent attacks are:

  • Relapsing remitting
  • Secondary progressive or “galloping MS”
  • Primary progressive (the least common type)
  • Progressive relapsing

Symptoms

Many people with MS experience a delay before their condition is accurately diagnosed because the symptoms of MS may resemble symptoms of many other disorders. MS typically occurs in episodes or attacks that can occur frequently or sporadically. Between episodes (“remission”), patients experience mild or no symptoms.

Symptoms vary by individual patient and may vary in a single patient with different attacks. A list of potential MS symptoms includes:

  • Loss of balance, problems walking, difficulty moving arms and legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or abnormal sensation in any part of the body, especially tingling, burning or pins-and-needles in the arms or legs
  • Lack of coordination
  • Weakness and/or tremor in one or more arm or leg
  • Constipation and stool leakage
  • Difficulty in starting urination, frequent urination, urgent urination, incontience
  • Double vision
  • Uncontrollable, rapid eye movements
  • Loss of vision, typically in one eye
  • Pain or discomfort in the eyes
  • Facial pain
  • Memory loss, impaired judgment, shortened attention span, problems with concentration
  • Difficulty reading or solving problems
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of hearing
  • Depression or overwhelming feelings of sorrow
  • Sexual symptoms
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with chewing and/or swallowing
  • Fatigue, particularly late in the day

Management

TR includes early attached recovery by I.V. course and other symptomatic treatment and for patient in remission prevention of future attack is done by sub cut, intramuscular, oral or I.V. drugs according to the case.

MS is a treatable disorder and it may get worse over time. Although MS cannot be cured, there are many important medical interventions and lifestyle modifications that can help people with MS manage the condition and maintain a reasonable quality of life. The treatment of MS aims at stopping “aborting acute attacks” and preventing new attacks, prolonging remission periods, and easing symptoms.

Patients with MS need to consult with experts in MS to learn about the latest therapeutic advances and treatment options. At Neuro Spinal Hospital, MS patients are investigated by MRI of brain & spinal cord, evoked potential study, visual, auditory and somatosensory C.O.S.T. analysis to detect oligoclonal band and immunoglobin synthesis.

Neuro Spinal Hospital offers:

  • Drug therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Devices, such as walkers, lifts, wheelchairs, and so on
  • Supervised exercises to build strength

Lifestyle modifications, including plenty of rest, healthy diet, and stress reduction, have also been shown to bring relief to MS patients.

Prognosis

The prognosis of any MS patient depends in part on his or her overall health, the category of MS, age, other health conditions, and even the types of symptoms that are experienced. The life expectancy of an MS patient is somewhat lower than that of a similar person without MS, but 40% of MS patients will reach their 70s. While MS patients may lose their ability to walk as the disease progresses, 75% of MS patients can walk unaided 15 years after the condition is diagnosed. Expert medical care for MS patients provides optimal outcomes.

Medical evidence also suggests that the improved outcomes are associated with the following factors:

  • Being female
  • Being young when the disease started (under 30 years of age)
  • Having only infrequent attacks
  • Have “relapsing-remitting” MS

Conclusion

MS is a treatable condition and may progress to affects the central nervous system. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, which makes it a challenging condition to diagnose. Once diagnosed, there are many ways to help manage MS, including physical and occupational therapy, pharmacological treatment, and devices to assist mobility. Because MS is a difficult and highly individualized disorder, people with MS need expert and highly individualized care. The team at Neuro Spinal Hospital can help MS patients get the latest treatments and appropriate care to delay disease progression and maintain an optimal quality of life as long as possible.