Friday, November 18, 2016
Multiple Sclerosis: A Deeper Look
Multiple sclerosis can be potentially disabling depending on the severity of the disease. This disease affects the brain and spinal cord in conjunction with the nerves and muscles. Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.1 What ultimately happens is, MS causes damage to the myelin coating that surrounds the nerve fibers throughout the CNS and to the nerve fibers themselves. The damage caused by MS to the myelin coating and the nerve endings causes interference with the transmission of nerve signals between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body.
What Causes MS?
As of right now, the cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. It is considered an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues.2 Even though the cause of MS is unknown, there seems to be many risk factors that can increase the likelihood of multiple sclerosis developing, such as: age, sex, family history, race, smoking, climate, etc. Multiple sclerosis is a long-lasting disease that can have devastating effects on your brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. This disease has been known to cause problems with vision, muscle control and function, balance, and other basic bodily functions. Multiple sclerosis symptoms often start to become apparent between the ages of 20-40. Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms may differ greatly from person to person and over the course of the disease depending on the location of affected nerve fibers.2
Signs & Symptoms may include:
· Difficulty walking.
· Numbness and tingling in one or more limbs.
· Partial or complete loss of vision.
· Blurred or double vision.
· Bladder or bowel control.
· Severe Fatigue.
Once a doctor has thoroughly assessed the severity of the case of MS there are multiple routes that can be taken for treatment. Pharmaceuticals can be prescribed that can slow the course of the disease, prevent or treat attacks, ease the symptoms, or help you manage the stress that accompanies the condition. Physical therapy can also be prescribed, going through proper rehabilitative therapy can teach the affected individual exercises that will improve strength and balance; as well as help manage fatigue and pain. Since each case of multiple sclerosis brings different effects and complications for the individual it is important to plan a specific rehabilitation regimen for each case. Take note of the affected individuals limitations and strengths and build around that, implement low-stress, repetitive exercise and stretching. In my next blog I will be discussing Parkinson’s Disease, its symptoms, and how to effectively treat the disease.
1Definition of MS : National Multiple Sclerosis Society. (n.d.). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Definition-of-MS
2Symptoms and causes - Multiple sclerosis - Mayo Clinic. (2015, October 1). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20131884
3Overview - Multiple sclerosis - Mayo Clinic. (2015, October 1). Retrieved October 24, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/home/ovc-20131882