An unpredictable disease that affects the nervous system, multiple sclerosis can be debilitating. Learn about the disease process, the different multiple sclerosis symptoms and how it can be managed.
The myelin sheath is the part of the body that provides the insulation or covering for the nerves which then leads to the proper conduction of impulses along the nerves. When a person is suffering from multiple sclerosis, there is degeneration of the nerves in the central nervous system, particularly the brain and the spinal cord. This causes the myelin to disappear, leaving the nerves unprotected. The impulses then become slower and the nerves become damaged which affects how the person functions.
The cause of MS is still unknown and researchers are still trying to find it out. It is believed to be an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system is altered thereby attacking its own cells and organs. This commonly occurs in people who are between the ages of 20 to 50, affecting more women than men. It can also pose a risk if you have a family history of this disease and if you are suffering from other disorders that were found out to have a certain link to MS such as Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that cause infectious mononucleosis.
Multiple sclerosis symptoms can be single or multiple, and these can be mild or severe with differences in the duration. There can also be partial or complete remissions of the symptoms. The earliest multiple sclerosis symptoms are visual disturbances. You can have a blurry vision, distortions with how you perceive colors and loss of vision in one eye. As the disease progresses, you can experience other multiple sclerosis symptoms such as weakness in the extremities, balance and coordination problems, muscle spasms, numbness, fatigue, loss of sensation and problem with how you articulate words. In some, there can be mental changes such as decrease in concentration, problems with attention, memory loss, judgment impairments and inability to do sequential tasks.
MS has no cure yet, but there are ways on how you can manage the different multiple sclerosis symptoms. Your doctor can give you medications to control the inflammation such that further damages on the nerves are controlled. While taking the medications, there are other treatment methods that you will need. You will also be given medications for muscle relaxation, for reduction of fatigue, for pain relief and to control any bladder or bowel problems that you may have. You will go through physical therapy so that you will still be able to perform your activities of daily living despite the signs and symptoms that you are manifesting.
While undergoing treatment for the various multiple sclerosis symptoms, you will also need to adapt lifestyle changes to help you manage the disease. You should have plenty of rest so that you can reduce fatigue which is a common symptom of MS. You should also have enough exercise to help you improve your muscle tone, strength, balance and coordination. A balanced diet is necessary so that you can help in keeping your immune system strong. Lastly, you need to relieve yourself from stress which can worsen the signs and symptoms of MS.
Even if multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, there are still plenty of things that you can do so that you can properly manage it. Despite having this disease, you can still live your life to the fullest.