What Do You Need to Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

What Do You Need to Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

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Multiple Sclerosis is a disease in which your immune system (white blood cells) attacks the protective sheath (Myelin) that covers your nerves. When myelin is damaged, it disrupts communication between your brain and the rest of your body. The word ‘sclerosis’ refers to the scar tissue or lesions that appear as the myelin is damaged. Unprotected nerves can’t function as they would with normal, healthy myelin. This is a process that is currently irreversible, as the nerves themselves may deteriorate.

Some people with severe Multiple Sclerosis may lose the ability to walk independently or at all. While others experience long periods of relapsing-remission during which they develop no new symptoms. There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis determined so far, however treatments can help to boost the recovery from attacks, manage symptoms and modify the course of disease. There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis classified.

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis:
Depending on the location of affected nerve fibers, the signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis vary. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ symptom of Multiple Sclerosis as each person experiences the disease differently. These may include:

Tingling or pain in parts of your body
Fatigue
Dizziness
Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs or trunk
Partial or complete loss of vision, usually one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
Blurring vision or double vision
Unsteady gait or lack of coordination, tremor
Problems with bowel and bladder function
Slurred speech
Electric-shock sensations that occur with neck movements, especially when you bend your neck forward

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis:
The cause of Multiple Sclerosis is unknown. It is said to be an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Researchers know that the myelin sheath is directly affected, but they don’t know what triggers the immune system to attack the myelin. It isn’t therefore clear, why Multiple Sclerosis develops in some people and not others. A combination of factors, ranging from genetics to childhood infections, may play a role.

It is believed that countries that are farthest from the equator may have higher chances of developing Multiple Sclerosis. Therefore, lack of vitamin D may play a major role. Vitamin D benefits the function of the immune system. People who live near the equator are exposed to more sunlight, as a result, their bodies produce more vitamin D.

Treatments for signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis:
There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis, however, treatment can speed the recovery process, slowing the progression of the disease by managing symptoms. You may experience painful or uncontrollable muscle stiffness or spasms, particularly in your legs. A physiotherapist can can teach you various stretching and strengthening exercises to keep your muscles, tendons and fibers healthy. With proper physiotherapy, you can improve the quality of your life. You can thus try to:

Get plenty of rest
Exercise regularly
Eat a balanced diet
Relieve stress

Stress may trigger or worsen your signs and symptoms. Yoga, Tai Chi, massage, meditation or deep breathing may help relieving stress and keep your mind and body calm. Medications can help ease Multiple Sclerosis attacks and possibly slow the disease. Physical therapy and other treatments help control the various symptoms and improve the quality of life.