Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is known to affect more than 250,000 people world wide and 400,000+ people in the United States of America alone! This disease affects more women than men, and most people show the first signs of this degenerative disease between 20 to 40 years of ages.
A chronic and potentially incapacitating disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the central nervous system or the brain and spinal cord areas in your body. Believed to be an autoimmune disorder, MS is a condition where the patient’s immune system produces antibodies against their own body.
These antibodies and WBCs (White blood corpuscles) are then directed against proteins in the “myelin” sheath. The myelin sheath is made up of fatty substance that protects the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain. This attack usually results in injury and swelling to the myelin sheath and ultimately to the surrounding nerves. The injury leads to scarring or sclerosis in multiple areas of the central immune system, thus damaging the nerve signals and control muscle coordination as well as vision, and strength.
The nature of it is unpredictable and it can vary in severity from person to person. While some people experience only mild illness, it can lead to permanent disability in many others. Treatments for MS can help in modifying the course of this illness while relieving symptoms as well.
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The signs and symptoms are wide and varied. More often than not, they depend on the area where nerve fibers have been affected. Some of the common symptoms of it include:
– Feeling of weakness or numbness in one or both limbs. The feeling usually starts on one side of the body or begins in the bottom half of the body.
– Full or partial loss of vision, typically starts with one eye at a time accompanied by some pain when making eye movement
– Blurring of vision or experiencing double vision
– A tingling or painful sensation in some parts of the body
– Experience of tremor, inability to walk straight, or lack of proper coordination
– Muscle stiffness or spastic movement
– Slurred Speech
– Full or Partial paralysis
– Issues with bowel, bladder or sexual functions
– Forgetfulness/memory loss
– Lack of concentration
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
There are 3 forms of multiple sclerosis:
Relapsing-remitting MS: Almost 80% people are affected by this type of MS. There are visible relapses with some amount of recovery in between.
Secondary progressive MS: Technically secondary progressive MS is a form of progressive MS, but chances of relapse are mainly in early-to-mid stages. There is slow and regular loss of cognitive and physical functions. 50% of those who suffer from relapsing remitting MS develop this type of within 10 years of diagnosis.
Primary progressive MS: There are no relapses in this type of multiple sclerosis. However, there is loss of cognitive and physical functions over a period of time. About 10% people are affected by this type of it.
© CG Groth Inc 2007