Multiple Sclerosis: A Multi-Faceted Disease

· October 14, 2014
Although multiple sclerosis doesn't have a cure in today's medical advances, there are certain ways to deal with this disease in the everyday activities. Ranging from drugs to treatments and even some practices.

Multiple Sclerosis is a central nervous system disease that affects bone marrow, the brain stem, and the brain. It is more common in women than men and the majority of people that have it are between 20 and 40 years of age.

It affects the myelin or the brain’s white matter and the bone marrow that envelops nerve fibers and causes them to get damaged and change their functioning when sclerosis plaque appears. Consequently preventing the nerves from transmitting impulses.

Causes and Consequences

This disease is caused when the myelin sheath is affected. Thus, this is what covers the neurons and it can happen in any part of the brain, stopping or altering nerve impulses. However, the damage stems from inflammation in which a person’s immune cells affect the nervous system.

Multiple sclerosis affects the brain

Some studies confirm that Multiple Sclerosis comes from hereditary problems or some kind of virus, along with environmental influences. Nonetheless, the reason behind why it begins is still unknown. Additionally, it is a fact that there is a greater risk of suffering from it if you have a family history of the disease or if you live in a place where Multiple Sclerosis is frequent.

And so, here are some of the consequences:

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Find Out If You Suffer from Multiple Sclerosis

Depending on the degree of the disease, the symptoms differ as well as how long it lasts. For example, some people are affected for days or week, but there are others who can experience lapses for months. Likewise, Multiple Sclerosis can reappear or simply get worse over time.

Being exposed to sun, hot baths, having a fever, or stress can all cause the disease and increase its symptoms if you already have it. Also, because it is a disease that is linked to the nervous system, the symptoms can be found in any part of the body. And so, the intestines, bladder, muscles, eyes, and other parts can be affected:

Eye Symptoms

  • Vision loss, usually in one eye at a time
  • Double vision
  • Burning eyes
  • Different and uncontrollable eye movement also

Intestines and Bladder Symptoms

  • Frequent urination or urgency
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty when beginning to urinate
  • Stool leakage
  • Constipation

Muscular Problems

  • Difficulty in walking
  • Coordination problems and also difficulty in doing slight movements
  • Muscle spasms
  • Imbalance
  • Leg, arm, or both weakness
  • Difficulty in moving arms and legs
  • Numbness anywhere in the body
  • Facial pain
  • Burning, stinging, or tingling in legs and arms

Neurological and Brain Afflictions

  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Complications in reasoning or thinking
  • Depression or regular sadness
  • Hearing loss
  • Attention deficit, memory loss, and also difficulty in understanding

Other Symptoms

  • Difficulty in vaginal lubrication
  • Erection problems
  • Additionally, fatigue that gets worse in the afternoon
  • Inappropriate gesticulation
  • Also chewing or eating problems

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Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis. However, there are certain types of therapy that will slow down the disease and help the patient have a life that is as normal as possible.

Thus, these are some of the medications:

  • Fingolimod (Gilenya)
  • Amantadine for fatigue is also a good option
  • You can also take anti-depressives to improve your behavior and mood
  • Cholinergic medications reduce urinary problems
  • Benzodiazepine, Lioresal (Baclofen) and Tizanidine (Zanaflex) also reduce muscle spasms
  • Azathioprine (Imuran), Methotrexate, Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and intravenous immunoglobulin
  • Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone), Natalizumab (Tysabri), Mitoxantrone (Novantrone) and interferons (Betaseron, Avonex, or Rebif)

On the other hand, you can also use these treatments and tips to manage your life with this disease:

Exercise may help manage your life with multiple sclerosis

  • Exercise
  • Occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy
  • Support groups are also a good practice
  • Using tools like walkers, wheelchairs, shower chairs, bed elevators, railings on the walls, etc.
  • Also, a healthy diet and lifestyle to avoid stress, diseases, and extreme temperatures
  • Eating food that is easy to chew can also help manage this disease
  • Modifying your home to prevent possible falls

White, L. J., & Dressendorfer, R. H. (2004). Exercise and multiple sclerosis. Sports Medicine. http://doi.org/10.2165/00007256-200434150-00005

Invernizz, P., Benedetti, M., Poli, S., & Monaco, S. (2008). Azathioprine in Multiple Sclerosis. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry. http://doi.org/10.2174/138955708785132756

Schwarz, S., & Leweling, H. (2005). Multiple sclerosis and nutrition. Multiple Sclerosis. http://doi.org/10.1191/1352458505ms1119oa

Serafini, B., Rosicarelli, B., Franciotta, D., Magliozzi, R., Reynolds, R., Cinque, P., … Aloisi, F. (2007). Dysregulated Epstein-Barr virus infection in the multiple sclerosis brain. The Journal of Experimental Medicine. http://doi.org/10.1084/jem.20071030