What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a lifelong autoimmune disease that affects the Central Nervous System and interferes with its function of information transmission. It may affect crucial organs like the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. It can also result in problems with different body functions.
We have a fatty material called myelin, which wraps around the nerve fibers to protect them and enhance their functions. Without them, the nerves can get severely damaged and may even die. Multiple Sclerosis happens when your immune system treats Myelin as a threat and attacks it. It causes the nerves in the sheath to get damaged and leave scars, known as Sclerosis. Thus, the name- Multiple Sclerosis.
The effects of MS vary from person to person. If you have mild symptoms, you will probably not even realize about the disease. In such cases, treatment isn’t required but it is suggested that regular medical check-ups should be taken. If you have prominent symptoms, even daily tasks can be a challenge for you.
If you are suffering from MS, your brain can’t transmit information through your nerves which will make basic functions tough for you as almost everybody's function needs Nervous to work properly.
Symptoms of MS
Though the symptoms of MS aren’t clear or assured, if you have any or all of the following symptoms, you should get checked by your doctor.
Unless you’re injured, if you have any kind of trouble walking, like feeling tipsy or not getting enough support from the legs, this can be a symptom.
- Lacking energy or feeling drowsy
This might happen due to several reasons like lack of sleep or too much exercise but if the problem persists without any clear reason, you should see a doctor.
Muscle spasm usually symbolizes other conditions but if it occurs frequently, you shouldn’t take chances and should get a check-up.
- Blurred vision or double vision
MS often affects the nerves concerned with the eyes. If you are having any problems with your vision, it is better to get checked for MS as well besides the regular eye tests.
- Numbness and tingling in hands or feet
Tingling in hands or feet when there is sudden stress on them is normal and happens to everyone. However, if there is numbness or tingling without a proper cause, it could be a red flag.
- Not feeling enough sexual pleasures
MS reduces your ability to feel which includes feelings in sexual activities. If you are suddenly having low sensitivity to them, consider visiting the doctor.
- Continuous digestive problems or constipation
MS can affect the working of the digestive system too. Digestion problems are common but if they reoccur too often without a specific cause like poor diet, MS could be the cause.
- Memory or concentration problems that you didn’t have before
This occurs due to MS affecting the functions of the brain. If the problem reoccurs frequently, you should get checked for MS. In most women, the first symptoms of MS can be felt between the ages of 20 to 40. The disease may either be a cycle of worsening and improving on its own or may continue to get worse over time.
Relief note: Recently, with the advancement of medical technologies, scientists have found various new treatments for the disease which can significantly slow down its effects of it.
What Causes MS?
While the exact cause of MS is not known yet, various things have been linked to it. Researchers say Genes and Smoking might have a significant connection to the disease. Like most other autoimmune diseases, Multiple Sclerosis can also be triggered by a viral infection that affects the normal functioning of the immune system.
If the disease is already present, such infections can also cause relapses of it. Though a prominent link between viral infections and MS is yet to be confirmed, if you have MS, it is better to take extra precautions to avoid viral infections. Some studies also suggest that exposure to sunlight can lower your risks of the disease. Time for some natural tan, yay?
Diagnosis of MS
Multiple Sclerosis often has symptoms common with various other Nervous disorders. Since the diagnosis is tough, you should see a Neurologist (specialist of the nervous system) for it. The doctor will ask about your genetics and medical history and decide on the tests. The tests may include blood tests, OCT, or MRIs.
At present, there is not a complete cure for MS but diagnosing the condition will help as there are several treatments that can slow down the worsening and prevent the relapsing of the disease. You may also be prescribed drugs to deal with the stress that comes with the disease.
The most common drug used to treat the conditions is steroids. Steroids will make your attacks shorter and less severe. Physical therapies have also been proven to be useful to make patients. However, for best results, you have to do more than just treatments or therapies. Have a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Consult your doctor before taking any steps as treatments are different for everyone and self-treatment of MS can worsen the condition further.
MS can have adverse effects including depression but you shouldn’t let it get the best of you. It is just a condition of your body and you are strong enough to deal with it. We know, things can be so tough and challenging but you can do it. You have got only one life and you have to make the best out of it, you can’t let these take away the best things of your life.
If you feel alone, there are MS support groups that have people just like you and you might connect better to them since they’re on the same road. If you are battling MS, you are stronger than you know. Live your life to the fullest! Love from VOW.
Also Read: Multiple Sclerosis: Causes & Treatment