Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (Brain and Spinal cord) that may cause permanent disability. It is an autoimmune disease in which body’s own immune system attacks the Myelin Sheath (Protective lining) of the nerves thereby causing communication issues between the central nervous system and other body parts. Eventually with the progression of the disease the nerve fibers also get damaged permanently. Some people with MS might lose their ability to walk permanently while in some cases patients may walk but with difficulty.
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The symptoms of MS vary from person to person depending upon the amount of nerve damage. Sometimes patients may also go through long periods of remission without any new symptoms. People with Multiple sclerosis may experience:
- Weakness or Numbness in limbs that commonly occur in one part of the body at a time
- Pain in eye movements with loss of vision usually in one eye at a time
- Double vision
- Pain and tingling sensations
- Shock like sensations in the body with certain movements like bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
- Unstable walking, lack of coordination or Tremor
- Slurred speech
- Loss of bowel and bladder controls
Risk factors for Multiple Sclerosis
- Age: MS can affect people of any age groups from 15 to 60 years of age.
- Sex: Women more likely to have MS than men.
- Family History: You are at a higher risk of developing MS if your parents or immediate relatives have the disease.
- Certain Infections: Infectious viruses like Epstein-Barr that causes infectious mononucleosis is sometimes linked to MS.
- Autoimmune Diseases: Other Autoimmune diseases like thyroid, type-1 diabetes or IBD are also sometimes linked with MS.
Complications in Multiple Sclerosis
Muscle spasms and stiffness Paralysis of the lower body loss of bladder, bowel or sexual function Forgetfulness or mood swings Depression Epilepsy Multiple sclerosis cannot be cured but treatment can be undertaken for fast recovery from attacks, manage symptoms and modify the course of the disease. It can be best done with a multidisciplinary approach.
Aids for Multiple Sclerosis
There is no complete cure for multiple sclerosis and so one has to use several aids to cope with the multiple conditions that are caused by MS. The different types of aids include:
- Mobility Aids – A variety of mobility aids are recommended for people suffering from MS. Multiple sclerosis results in the loss of limb function and so walking or moving around gradually becomes a difficult task. Mobility aids such as scooters, canes, lift chairs, rollators, standers, and wheelchairs can be of great help to aid in walking and moving around, both indoors and outdoors.
- Daily Living Aids – Daily living aids can help cope with the several difficulties that a patient of MS faces in their daily lives. These aids include bath safety aids, bedroom aids, dining and drinking aids, reading and writing aids, dressing and grooming aids, household aids, kitchen aids, and much more.
- Patient Care Aids – Reduced nerve function can also affect a person’s ability to control their voluntary functions. Hence it is very important to ensure the safety of the patient at all times, as well as care for the patient always. Patient safety includes fall prevention alarms, fall protection, head-face protection, and fall restraints. Patient care includes specialized beds, mattresses, and several bed accessories. Patient transfer aids can be used to enhance transferring patients that have completely lost bodily function of movement and mobility.
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Frequently asked questions
Symptoms of multiple slerosis include blurred vision, loss of immunity and balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness and more.
Multiple sclerosis may occour in people of any age, gender, and any ethnic background. MS is mostly diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40, but it may develop in young children, teens and older adults as well. MS is more common in women than in men, by a ratio of 3 to 1. Individuals with a parent or sibling with MS have a slightly increased risk.
Although, there is no cure for MS yet, but treatment plans may help in reducing the progress and symptoms oF MS. Long-term medications should be started as early as possible MS is diagnosed. Heavy doses of anti-inflammatory medicines, called corticosteroids, are used to treat relapses. Other drugs and therapies with lifestyle changes, can help you better manage the day-to-day symptoms of MS.
No, MS is not contagious but you may be at a higher risk if your parent or sibling has been diagnosed multiple sclerosis.