Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). This condition can cause permanent damage to the nerves. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder which means the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks myelin sheath. Myelin sheath is a protective cover that guards nerves and hence damage to this layer causes communication problems between brain cells and other body parts.
The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. A combination of genetic and environmental factors can cause the condition:
- Hereditary factors
- Certain infections
- Lack of certain vitamins, especially vitamin D
- Long term smoking
- Thyroid disease, diabetes
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary depending on the extent of nerve damage.
- Vision problems such as blurred vision, double vision, loss of vision
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs
- Shock like sensations during neck movements (Lhermitte sign)
- Coordination difficulties
- Gait disorders
- Bowel and bladder dysfunctions
- Pain in whole or parts of body
- Slurring of speech
Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is made on the basis of :
- Evaluating signs and symptoms
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- Neurological examination
- Blood tests
- Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Lumbar puncture
Currently, there is no proven way to prevent multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis has no cure. The objectives of treatment are fast recovery from attacks, reducing or slowing down the progression of the condition and reducing or managing with the signs and symptoms.
- Medicines such as corticosteroids are being used to reduce nerve inflammation. Other drugs are also used to manage the symptoms, reduce progression and cope with other difficulties of multiple sclerosis
- Physiotherapist is one of the major treatments for multiple sclerosis. The physiotherapist assists in doing stretching and strengthening exercises and may use assistive devices to make movements and daily tasks easier.
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