Multiple Sclerosis, also known as “MS”, is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This disorder is caused by inflammation, the action of the body’s own immune cells attacking its own nervous system. Aforementioned inflammation damages the outer layer of nerve cells, also known as the myelin sheath. When this covering is harmed, nerve signals slow down or altogether stop, making life difficult for the victims of MS. “Although found in both genders, MS affects many more women than men.
It usually appears between the ages of 20 and 40, but has been diagnosed at all levels of maturity. ” (pubmedhealth) These people may suffer from a multitude of symptoms associated with MS including, but not limited to, loss of balance, heavy fatigue, muscle spasms, dizziness, tremors, weakness, double vision, tingling and numbness, depression, hearing loss, slurred speech, and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms vary from patient to patient based on location, treatment, and the overall severity of the disease. MS causes deterioration of the body, but does not however, make one’s life expectancy shorter than normal.
Most victims continue to function normally throughout the majority of their lives, working with minimal disability for 20 or more years. This chronic and incurable disease is life-changing, but in most cases, not life-ending. Although incurable, MS can be tested and treated in a variety of ways. A few tests that can be used to diagnose MS comprise of, Lumbar puncture, MRI brain scan, and a nerve function study. Lumbar punctures are known to be very painful and a dreadful procedure in that the surgeon much use a very extensive needle to “tap” into the patient’s spinal cord for a something called cerebrospinal fluid.
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Although Lumbar punctures are the most painful, they just so happen to be the most effective, in turn making them the most popular MS test. As far as treatment goes, there is no cure known for this disease. That being said, there are many therapies and medicine available to help slow down and control the disease. Some of the medications used to slow this disease down consist of Interferons (also used to treat a rare skin cancer known as melanoma), glatiramer acetate, mitoxantrone, natalizumab, and fingolimod.
Steroids may also be used to minimize how severe the attacks can reach (pubmedhealth). Other medicines are additionally used to control symptoms, including Lioresal, tizanidine, and benzodiazepine, which are medicines to lessen muscle spasms. Antidepressants are used for mood and/or behavior symptoms (pubmedhealth). Furthermore, in addition to the aforementioned treatments for MS, there are numerous wellness behaviors that can be followed to lower progression of the disease. “Physical therapy and other types of therapy like speech, occupational and support groups. ther wellness behaviors such as assistive devices, planned exercise programs, a healthy lifestyle, avoiding stress or illness in any way, changes in what you eat or drink, making changes around the home to prevent falls, and counseling services to help cope with the disorder” (pubmedhealth) can all be ways to lower the progression of the disease. ” In conclusion, Multiple Sclerosis is a horrible disease that no one should have to deal with, but unfortunately millions of people do every day.
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