Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic nervous system or inflammatory disease that alters the communication between the brain, spinal cord and other parts of the body thereby damaging the myelin sheath surrounding and protecting the nerve cells. There is no cure for MS but treatment can relieve it from worsening. It affects more women than men in the age group of 20-40 years.
Multiple sclerosis may paralyze the patient causing vision and speech impairments owing to the damage of the nervous system functioning.
The exact cause of MS is unknown. But according to studies it could be genetic, environmental, infection and lastly vascular reasons. People who inherit genes from parents or siblings having MS are more susceptible to the disease. Thus hereditary factors can cause the risk of developing MS. Lesser exposure to sunlight might reduce the vitamin-D levels in our body which can increase the risk of MS. Stress, smoking, diet, exposure to toxic substances and having lesser amounts of uric acid in the system called gout can also cause MS. MS triggers in people affected with virus invasion, pathogens or infectious agents, which alters the immune system, leading to an autoimmune disease. Viral infection like common cold, influenza can cause greater risk of developing MS. Epstein-Barr, Herpes virus and Varicella Zoster are possible MS triggers. Excessive salt consumption may also lead to MS.
Person suffering from MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS may show varied symptoms mostly neurological with loss of sensitivity, tingling sensation, prickling or numbness, muscle weakness, stiffness and spasms, difficulty in moving, walking, speech, vision impairment, fatigue, acute or chronic pain, and bladder and bowel problems. Stress and depression are potential symptoms observed during this phase. Cognitive abnormalities like memory and thinking disability and sexual dysfunction are also commonly observed in patients.
Clinical records of symptoms of the patient and neurological exam and study are done with the help of MRI scan and spinal tap. Blood test help to identify any infectious or inflammatory diseases causing MS. For the initial stages of the disease Schumacher and Poser diagnostic approach are done. Diagnostic tools like Neuroimaging, Visual evoked potentials and Magnetic resonance imaging are used for analysing the cerebrospinal fluid in the brain and the spinal areas showing demyelination. Intravenous administration of Gadolinium, Cerebrospinal fluid testing for oligoclonal bands are the newer methods for detecting inflammations in people affected with MS.
DRUGS AND TREATMENT:
Strategic plan is done for the treatment of MS. Corticosteroids like oral Prednisone and intravenous methyl prednisolone are administered for reducing inflammations. Side effects are mood swings and weight gain. Plasmapheresis where mechanically separated blood cells from plasma injected with replacement solutions help combat MS relapses. Interferon beta- 1a and beta -1b and Glatiramer acetate injections once per day is administered which blocks the attack of immune system on myelin. Natalizumab and Mitoxantrone are given intravenously monthly and once every three months respectively. Fingolimod, Teriflunomide ( single dose daily) and Dimethyl fumarate (twice daily) are US FDA approved medicines which helps in reducing the MS relapses. Dalfampridine medication helps improve speed walking. Baclofen (Lioresal) and Tizanidine ( Zanaflex) which are muscle relaxants improve muscle spasticity. Amantadine medicine help reduce muscle fatigue.