Multiple Sclerosis


Description:

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a crippling disease that effects the brain and spinal cord. It attacks the material that surrounds the nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. This slows down the communication of the nerve cells, and in extreme cases it can completely block the communication rendering the victim completely crippled. Multiple Sclerosis can affect the person's muscles, nerves and senses.

MS is an autoimmune disease, this means that it occurs because the body is attacking itself. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and help you maintain a normal quality of life.

external image Multiple-Sclerosis.jpg


MS.jpg

Symptoms:

Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms (remissions). This makes it hard to diagnose at an early stage. Fever, hot baths, sun exposure, and stress can trigger or worsen attacks. It is common for the disease to return (relapse). However, the disease may continue to get worse without periods of remission.

Due to the fact that nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, patients with multiple sclerosis can have symptoms in many parts of the body.
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Muscle symptoms:
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
  • Problems moving arms or legs
  • Problems walking
  • Problems with coordination and making small movements
  • Tremor in one or more arms or legs
  • Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Bowel and bladder symptoms:

Eye symptoms:

Numbness, tingling, or pain:

Other brain and nerve symptoms:
  • Decreased attention span, poor judgment, and memory loss
  • Difficulty reasoning and solving problems
  • Depression or feelings of sadness
  • Dizziness and balance problems
  • Hearing loss

Sexual symptoms:

Speech and swallowing symptoms:
  • Slurred or difficult-to-understand speech
  • Trouble chewing and swallowing

Fatigue is a common and bothersome symptom and unfortunately as MS progresses it often worsens.

Causes:
MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or stopped. The nerve damage is caused by inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the body's own immune cells attack the nervous system. Repeated episodes of inflammation can occur along any area of the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord.
Researchers are not sure what triggers the inflammation. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. Geographic studies indicate there may be an environmental factor involved. People with a family history of MS and those who live in a geographical area where MS is more common have a slightly higher risk of the disease.

Web Resources:

More about Multiple Sclerosis
http://www.mayoclinic.com

Related Terminology:
Crippling
Auto Immune Disease
Nervous System Disease

Citations/References:
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/pyloric_stenosis.html

http://www.riversideonline.com/health_reference/Nervous-System/DS00188.cfm