Tuesday, 8 May 2012

What is M.S (Multiple Sclerosis)

Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological condition that affects around 100,000 people in the UK alone. This condition affects nearly twice as many women then men and diagnosis normally occurs between the ages of 20-40

What Does Multiple Sclerosis Do?

A substance called myelin protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system, which helps messages travel quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body. However, in MS, your immune system, which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it. This damages the myelin and strips it off the nerve fibres, either partially or completely, leaving scars known as lesions or plaques. This damage disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres - they can slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all. As well as myelin loss, there can also sometimes be damage to the actual nerve fibres. It is this nerve damage that causes the accumulation of disability that can occur over time. 
Quoted from the MS Society

Multiple Sclerosis Animation

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Depending on which part of the nervous system is damaged depends on what symptoms you will experience. However, an early sign of M.S is optic neuritis (partial or complete blindness). It is considered a more 'concrete' symptom as opposed to a vague neurological problem of numbness in the extremities.

Other symptoms include problems with the following:
  • Balance, walking and dizziness
  • Bladder: problems storing and emptying
  • Bowel: incontinence or constipation
  • Eyes and sight: blurred or double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Memory and thinking
  • Mental health: depression, stress and anxiety
  • Pain
  • Sexual problems
  • Spasms and stiffness
  • Speech
  • Swallowing
  • Tremor

Multiple Sclerosis Treatments

CC Courtesy of Emily Raw, Flickr
M.S Interferon Injection
There is no cure for M.S, however, there are a wide variety of treatments that help to manage the symptoms. You will also find that with certain types of M.S that the condition will phase between remission and relapse so depending on where you are in a cycle depends on what level of treatment you require.

Treatments for M.S include: Disease Modifying Drugs (DMDs); Complimentary and alternative therapies such as physio therapy and massage; exercise; and diet. By including these treatments when necessary it is possible to limit your symptoms so that they have as little impact on your life as possible.

Please leave a comment if you're affected by M.S (personally or someone you know), it's important for us to raise awareness about these diseases.

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