Multiple sclerosis or MS is a disease that disables the functions of the brain and spinal cord. Depending on the severity and nerves affected, the signs and symptoms may differ for each patient. It may also prevent a person from walking independently and sometimes not at all anymore. As of the moment, there is no known cure for multiple sclerosis but the signs and symptoms including the course of the disease may be improved with the technology we have at hand.
Symptoms of MS
Multiple sclerosis causes optic neuritis wherein the nerve connecting the eye to the brain is affected. It usually affects one eye only but for some, both eyes can be affected. Common signs and symptoms are blurry vision, pain when moving the eyes and dull colors. These usually go away after some time but it is still advised to see a doctor if you see these signs.
Another symptom of multiple sclerosis is the feeling of strange sensations on your body. Some examples are tingling sensations around your head and neck going down to your spine and into your arms, numbness of face and inflamed sensation. These are just some of the symptoms of MS.
Bladder and bowel problems
Examples of these are having the urge to urinate more often or the other way around which is having difficulty to completely empty your bladder. Constipation may also occur to some patients.
Difficulty in walking
Multiple sclerosis may also cause muscle weakness and numbness of the feet which makes it difficult for a patient to walk. Spasms and imbalance may also happen when walking as the disease progresses.
A patient with multiple sclerosis may always feel tired and sleepy especially in the afternoon even if they had a good night sleep and complete rest. Fatigue is another symptom of multiple sclerosis which causes muscle weakness and slower mental processing.
This may occur in the form of vaginal dryness among women and erectile dysfunction among men. It also makes a person less responsive to touch, difficulty in experiencing orgasm and lesser libido.
A slurred speech is another symptom of multiple sclerosis; this is when the patient pauses for a short period of time before being able to respond but the words coming out are still unclear. Other symptoms of MS include difficulty in swallowing in advanced cases of this disease.
Disruption of cognitive abilities
Multiple sclerosis is not capable of changing or erasing your intelligence but it can slow down your cognitive abilities which lead to poor memory, inability to concentrate and slowed thinking. This can make a person unable to perform his or her daily tasks.
Muscle pains and spasms
Multiple sclerosis may cause painful jerking movements in the extremities especially in the legs. Some patients also experience back pains. Aside from these, multiple sclerosis may also cause muscle spasms and chronic pains.
Poor emotional health
Patients with multiple sclerosis are also seen with poor emotional health. They are prone to experience major depression, mood swings and irritability. Some patients were also diagnosed with pseudobulbar affect wherein the patient uncontrollably cries and then laughs.
Know More About Multiple Sclerosis
The etiology of this disease is unknown but it is related to the destruction of myelin which leads to the different symptoms of MS. Myelin protects the nerve fibers of the central nervous system. When myelin is damaged, the fibers become exposed and get damaged. The messages that need to be transmitted are also slowed down while travelling through the nerve fiber; in some cases, these messages may even be blocked. MS may be hereditary or acquired through environmental factors.
There are many risk factors for multiple sclerosis.
These include age -- persons between the age of fifteen to sixty are at risk.
Women are also known to have higher risk than men.
It may also run in the blood, which means if one of your family members has this disease, there is a possibility that you may also get this disease.
Viral infections such as Epstein-barr are also linked to MS.
Next is race. It was found out that white people especially those from Northern European descent have a higher risk of this condition.
Climate plays a role too. It is said that MS is less likely to occur on temperate climates.
Smoking is also a risk factor.
You have a higher risk of developing symptoms of MS if you have an autoimmune disease like thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease where the body attacks itself.
Popularity and life expectancy
As having said before, multiple sclerosis is commonly seen among younger people but usually in between the ages of 15 to 60 years old. This condition may also occur among infants but in rare cases. Statistics have showed that about 2.5 million people worldwide have multiple sclerosis, and 400,000 of these people live in the United States.
Patients with multiple sclerosis have the same life expectancy as those without this condition; however, complication of MS has led to some cases of pneumonia. This condition has two types: first is the benign wherein the patient experiences less symptoms and sometimes none at all, but the MRI suggests many lesions; the other type is called the Marburg variant wherein the symptoms are rapidly progressing and may lead to death after a short period of time.