What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis affects Central Nervous System, particularly brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is a chronic condition that transforms the way in which nerves function.
For some people, the symptoms are very mild that could be treated without any medication. While for some people, the symptoms worsen over time.
In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks myelin(a protective sheath covering nerve fibres). This damages the nerve cell and brain becomes incapable of sending a signal to the rest of the body parts.
What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?
Nobody knows the exact cause for multiple sclerosis. Researchers believe that the following factors could be significant for the development of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is not an inherited disease. But, certain genes in the body can quickly react to environmental factors and cause the disease.
If you have a sibling or parent with MS, you are at a substantial risk of developing the disease.
Smokers are at a huge risk of developing multiple sclerosis. Sometimes tumors develops in the brain, causing shrinkage.
Several bacteria and viruses including epstein-barr virus, measles virus, ebola virus, canine distemper etc can lead to the development of MS.
Obesity in children and adults can cause multiple sclerosis later on in their life. It can also lead to increased inflammation in the people who have already been diagnosed with the disease.
As compared to men, women are believed to be at a greater risk of getting MS(specifically 2-3 times).
Insufficiency Of Vitamin D
Vitamin D and exposure to sunlight plays an important role in MS. Low levels of is believed to be one of the major risk factors for MS.
People living near the equator usually gets more sunlight and have high amounts of vitamin D in their bloodstream. They remain at the low risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D provides a great support to our defensive mechanism and eradicates the risk of several harmful diseases.
What Are The Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis?
People often becomes weak and lethargic when struck by MS.
You experience sudden vision problems with MS. These problems are classified into following categories:
- Blurred Vision
- Double Vision
- Loss Of Vision
Vision problems are caused due to many different reasons, and so you can’t conclude anything when you experience this symptom.
About 50% of MS victims suffer from one or the other cognitive issues. Some of them are listed below:
- Language problems
- Concentration problems
- Memory problems
- Inability of being organized
Almost 80% of people suffering with MS experience bladder problems. Following are the symptoms patients usually get:
- Incompetence to control urine
- Frequent urination
- Strong impulse to urinate
Less common symptoms include:
- Loss of bowel control
Pain And Contractures
According to a survey, most people with MS experience pain at some point. Some people get relieved from their pain soon, while others don’t. The symptoms include:
- Pain resulting from stiffness and muscle spasms
- Stabbing pain in the face
- Pain or inflammation on the entire body
- Ardent pain from head through spine
Pain can be caused for various reasons. Consult your healthcare specialist and know the cause of your pain.
MS can lead to numbness of the body. It affects the brain and spinal cord that create problems while sending signals to different parts of the body.
Sometimes, no signals are sent that leads to insensitivity or numbness.
MS attacks at the central nervous system that can cause sexual dysfunction.
MS is believed to hamper that portion of the brain which controls speech. Primary symptoms include:
- Nasal speech(Sounding like a cold-sufferer)
- Slurred words
- Scanning speech(Prolonged pause between syllables and words)
- If you consume excessive amounts of alcohol, you can have slurred speech. But if the problem is sudden, consult your doctor quickly.
How Is Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosed?
No blood test can detect multiple sclerosis. The doctor takes it to eliminate other medical conditions that have identical symptoms.
Spinal tap(or lumbar puncture) is a significant test to detect MS. In this, the doctor uses a thin needle and collects a sample of your cerebrospinal fluid. The fluid is taken from the lower back portion of the body.
The abnormalities in inflammatory cells and proteins shows that a person has MS. Other medical emergencies including Guillain-Barre Syndrome, meningitis or the cancer of brain and spinal cord could be detected with this test.
Side effects of the test
- Back Pain
- Severe Headache
MRI takes clear pictures of the human body without the use of harmful x-ray. It uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce the pictures.
The damaged regions of brain and spinal cord are clearly visible in this test, that sometimes could be missed out with a test like a CT scan.
It can be used to
- Detect the presence of multiple sclerosis
- To track the progression of the disease
There are no side effects of taking this test. The structural abnormalities could be detected more precisely with the test.
Evoked potential Test
The doctor will take this test to determine the time your nerves are taking to respond to the stimulation. The stimulation can be audio, video or somatosensory.
This test is done to:
- Detect tumors
- Detect nerve damage
- Evaluate the activity of the brain
- Evaluate vision or hearing problems