Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that leads to the deterioration of the central nervous system. Once diagnosed with MS, patients need to work closely with doctors and specialists to determine the most effective treatment strategy for their specific case. Although there is no cure, treating multiple sclerosis is possible.

The earlier MS is treated, the better the chances of slowing down its progress and minimizing its symptoms. The ultimate goal is to postpone disability, such as paralysis and loss of vision, which are unfortunate inevitabilities in the late stages of the disease.

In determining the right course of action, doctors need to consider the patient’s age, overall health, and the type of MS with which they have been diagnosed. They need to evaluate which treatments will most effectively slow down the progressive mentally and physically debilitating effects of the disease. Another factor is the consideration of whether a particular treatment will decrease the frequency of relapses, as well as prevent fresh lesions from appearing in the body (detected through MRI tests).

Patients also have a responsibility to follow the recommendations of their doctors, as most treatments will ultimately prove ineffective if the patient is uncooperative. For instance, if medication is prescribed, it is imperative that it be taken correctly (i.e. with meals, at certain times of time day). Patients with strict guidelines as to how they take their medications may be wise to adopt scheduled routines and use additional reminder systems, such as cell phone alarms or family supervision. Forgetting to take medication, or taking it improperly, greatly increases the chances of it working ineffectively to slow the progression of the disease.

Certain treatments can significantly impact the way patients live their lives. High-maintenance MS injection therapies or infusion treatments may result in the interruption of normal day-to-day activities. Patients who consider certain treatment methods to be too inconvenient or invasive will need to collaborate with their doctor and MS specialists to coordinate an alternative plan of action.

The consumption of MS medication must be done with careful consideration for its safety guidelines, which should be discussed thoroughly between a patient and their doctor. Patients will need to be made aware of potential side-effects incurred by taking the medication, as well make their doctor aware if, and how, they appear. Close family members should be informed about the specifics of a patient’s treatment strategy, including dosage scheduling and methods of administering, as well as possible side-effects. Honest and open communication between a patient, their family, doctor, and MS specialists is crucial for the effectiveness of any multiple sclerosis treatments.

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Children with MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that leads to the deterioration of the central nervous system and affects over 400,000 people in the United States. MS involves the gradual destruction of myelin in the brain and spinal cord, which is a fatty white substance responsible for protecting nerve cells and relaying messages between cells throughout the body. Although the majority of cases occur between the ages of 20 to 50, roughly 10,000 of those diagnosed in the U.S. are children. Children with MS often require special treatment due to their young age.

Diagnosis

Given that MS is relatively uncommon among children, along with the fact that younger patients often have trouble describing neurological symptoms, MS in early life is particularly hard to diagnose. No cure currently exists; however, several treatment strategies aimed at minimizing symptoms and slowing the progress of the disease. Although multiple sclerosis tends to progress slowly in child patients, treatment does not always work to prevent recurrent relapses and can leave younger patients disabled at an earlier age than those diagnosed as adults.

Symptoms

Symptoms experienced in children with MS are similar to those in adult patients. Diagnosis prior to the age of 18 often follows a cluster of severe symptoms relating to the nervous system malfunctioning, including seizures, coma, headache, and fever—known as acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM). The persistence or recurrence of these symptomswhich may last up to a few weeksis a probable sign of MS.

As in adults, child patients may also experience a wide range of symptoms in addition to ADEM, including tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, clumsiness, bowel and bladder problems, mobility issues, and tremors. Children with MS are more likely to experience lethargy and seizures than adult patients.

Treatment

Children diagnosed with MS are often treated by several specialists concurrently through a holistic approach. Dietitians may work with the family to adopt MS-appropriate diets. Psychiatrists may treat possible psychological effects of the disease, including depression and anxiety. Often corticosteroids are prescribed, which help prevent relapses and slow the progression of the disease while reducing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.

Some medications commonly used in adult cases are not yet recommended for children as they have not been tested extensively enough in those under 18.

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Can MS Cause Depression?

Can MS Cause Depression

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that progressively destroys myelin in the central nervous system (CNS). The deterioration of myelin, which are the protective fatty layer surrounding certain nerve cells, results in impaired communication between the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the body. So can MS cause depression? Although MS results in a wide range of symptoms, depression is a common neuropsychological byproduct.

General Symptoms

Although symptoms vary from patient to patient, other common signs include fatigue, clumsiness, decreased mobility, numbness and tingling, bowel and bladder issues, visual problems, confusion, emotional changes. In more advanced stages, MS can cause paralysis and loss of vision.

Depression

Depression is a frequently reported symptom among MS patients and can manifest itself in sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, restlessness, frustration, fatigue, grief, stress, and guilt.

Often attributed to the impairment of nerve communication, MS causes mood changes and depression. Also, the emotional trauma of the diagnosis itself incurs psychological ramifications. As those suffering from MS slowly lose their physical and neurological functions, depression can set in from having to adjust to a new way of living.

Additionally, depression is a common side-effect of many medications used to treat multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of mild depression include short-lived periods of feeling sad, lasting from a few hours to a couple days. Clinical depression entails more severe symptoms and can last months, even years. Those experiencing symptoms are encouraged to speak with their doctor.

Other signs of depression include sudden crying, appetite changes, poor sleeping habits, agitation, restlessness, being overly tired, frequent anxiety, anhedonia, hopelessness, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts.

Treatment for MS patients suffering from depression may include being prescribed antidepressants or undergoing psychotherapy. Other strategies include engaging in support groups consisting of other MS patients, physical exercise in MS-appropriate ways, open communication with loved ones, visiting friends and family, volunteering, relaxation, and healthy eating.

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The Different Types of Multiple Sclerosis

Types of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressive illness in which the autoimmune system progressively destroys myelin in the central nervous system (CNS). Although symptoms vary widely, common signs include numbness or clumsiness in the limbs. As the disease progresses to its advanced stages, paralysis and loss of vision may occur. This is further complicated by four different types of multiple sclerosis.

The severity and rate of progress of MS depend on the overall health and condition of the patient, as well as which type of multiple sclerosis they are suffering from. Here are the four types of multiple sclerosis;

Primary-Progressive

Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) occurs in roughly 10% of all MS diagnoses and involves the gradually deteriorating of neurologic function. Although the rate of progression varies from patient to patienttypically including sporadic plateaus and short-lived periods of improvementits progression is generally continuous. PPMS is not characterized by distinct relapses or remissions.

Relapsing-Remitting

Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) entails dramatic periods of worsening neurologic function within unambiguous time-framesotherwise known as exacerbations, flare-ups, or relapses. Roughly 85% of all MS patients are first diagnosed with this form. RRMS often involves periods of partial or complete recovery, also called remissions.

Secondary-Progressive

Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) often evolves out of RRMS. SPMS usually entails symptoms increasing at a consistent rate, without brief remissions or plateaus. Prior to recent advancements in multiple sclerosis medications, roughly half of all those diagnosed with RRMS developed this secondary form of the disease within a decade of their first developing MS. Whether these medications will effectively prevent progression into SPMS indefinitely is uncertain until long-term data becomes available.

Progressive-Relapsing

A rarer form of MS (occurring in about 5% of diagnoses), Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) is characterized by a consistent progression of symptoms from its initial development, while occasionally punctuated by clearly-defined attacks of exacerbated neurologic function. Although there may be brief periods of recovery subsequent to these relapses, PRMS progresses steadily without remissions. PRMS is sometimes diagnosed mistakenly as PPMS because of its similarities in the beginning phases. That diagnosis is usually corrected after relapses reveal its form.  

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What Causes MS?

MS

Although the signs of advanced-stage multiple sclerosis (MS) are outwardly apparent, early symptoms can sometimes be difficult to detect. Additionally, medical research has not yet conclusively yielded a specific cause resulting in MS; however, multiple factors have been shown to be strongly correlated.

MS is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the myelin in the central nervous system (CNS). Myelin both protects nerve cells and plays a critical role in communication between nerve cells. As communication deteriorates, nervous bodily tissue throughout the body becomes negatively impacted, resulting in a myriad of progressive symptoms.

While many treatment strategies have proven effective in the slowing down the disease, not knowing exactly what causes multiple sclerosis means there is no known effective way of preventing the disease. In many cases, the immune system begins attacking myelin in the brain and spinal cord in those between the ages of 20 to 50, affecting females at a higher rate.

Theories regarding the precise cause of multiple sclerosis suggest that genetic predisposition is a major factor, with those having a family history of multiple sclerosis is more susceptible to the disease. Environmental factors have also been shown to be highly correlative. Research suggests that living in certain areas of the globe determines one’s risk of developing MS. For instance, those living closer to the equator is statistically less likely to develop the disease, possibly because they are nourished with abundant amounts of vitamin D through sun exposure. Certain dietary factors are also theorized as related causes.

Recent research suggests that viruses may trigger the disease. Viral infections affect the immune system, which is responsible for destroying myelin in MS patients.

Medical researchers hope to one day determine exactly what causes multiple sclerosis, thereby better enabling the production of a vaccine, or other medical treatment, to prevent the development of MS before it begins. Preventative measures in the meantime include adopting healthy dietary and lifestyle habits, as well as getting healthy amounts of vitamin D through moderate sun exposure.

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Natural Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Relievers

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks crucial parts of the central nervous system known as myelin, which is responsible for protecting and relaying messages between the neurons.

As the myelin progressively become more and more damaged, impaired communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body is manifested in a wide variety of symptoms.

MS is a progressive disease with no known cure.

Symptoms

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis often develop gradually, impacting different parts of the body depending on which parts of the central nervous system are getting damaged. Common symptoms include muscle spasms, dizziness, extreme fatigue during both physical and mental activity, as well as bladder and bowel issues. Symptoms tend to become more severe as the disease progress.

Cognitive problems include short-term memory loss, poor judgment, and difficulty concentrating. Personality changes can occur, such as mood swings or emotional outbursts.

Other symptoms include vision problems, such as blurriness, blind spots, double vision, and temporary blindness. Speech problems are common, with patients often developing a speech impediment characterized by slowness and awkward syllabic emphasis.

Natural Symptom Relievers

In conjunction with medical treatment options for MS, there are many natural symptom relievers that can be tried depending on the type and severity of MS in a particular patient.

Herbal remedies include St. John’s wort, echinacea, sage, milk thistle, and fish oil. Before using these, however, patients should consult with their doctor as they have been known to produce side-effects when taken with certain MS medications.

Research shows a correlation between vitamin D supplementation and reducing the rate of MS relapse. In this way, increased (though not excessive) sun exposure may be beneficial for MS patients.

Fish oil has been shown to have beneficial effects alleviating nerve inflammation, muscle ache and pain, as well as memory problems. Milk thistle can be used to help purify the blood, thereby improving the overall health of those with multiple sclerosis. Sage has been correlated with the minimization of muscles spasms and helps with digestion. Echinacea has been shown to alleviate MS symptoms like upset stomach, cold, and restlessness.

In addition to herbal remedies, dietary improvements and lifestyle changes (such as quitting smoking) are recommended for MS patients. Regular exercise and adequate sleep have been shown to minimize symptoms. Other alternatives to medical treatment include acupuncture, homeopathy, and massage.

It is critical that a patient consults with their doctor about which natural treatment strategies best align with their medical treatment in order to minimize MS symptoms safely.

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Multiple Sclerosis Information

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). As the disease progressively destroys more and more myelin (the fatty substance surrounding and protecting nerve cells), the nervous system begins to malfunction as a result of diminished communication.

Interference of communication between nerve cells in the CNS negatively impacts nervous tissues over the entire body, resulting in a musculoskeletal, sensory and cognitive impairment, as well as the improper functioning of internal organs. Depression and dementia are common neuropsychological symptoms arising from the degenerative effects of MS.

Roughly 2.5 million are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis worldwide, including about 400,000 in the U.S. alone. The disease affects those between the ages of 20 to 40 most frequently, with higher rates of occurrence among females.

Causes

Although the exact cause of multiple sclerosis is yet to be determined, medical research shows a high correlation with genetic predisposition and certain environmental factors. Those with a close family relative having been diagnosed with MS are at a higher risk of developing the disease. Certain environmental and behavioral factors, such as air pollution, extreme anxiety, lack of sleep, and smoking cigarettes, have shown strong correlations with developing MS.

Symptoms

Since MS attacks the central nervous system, which plays a crucial role in the functioning of nearly every aspect of the body, symptoms are extremely varied. Common bodily signs include sudden clumsiness or weakness in the legs, muscle pain, inflammation, and poor mobility. Neuropsychological symptoms can include depression, dementia, difficulty performing simple mental tasks, and an overall lack of concentration. Symptoms sometimes appear minimally in only a few manifestations and then disappear suddenly.

Diagnosis involves comprehensive testing, including both physical and neuropsychological assessments, as well as MRI scans and other tests to evaluate possible myelin damage.

Treatment

Multiple sclerosis treatment methods are as varied as its symptoms. Common treatments for the physically debilitating aspects of MS include prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, and beta interferon therapy. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and central nervous system stimulants are sometimes used to treat neuropsychological symptoms. Given the multifaceted nature of multiple sclerosis, a number dietary, behavioral, and environment-related treatment strategies are often recommended concurrently to medical treatment.   

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The Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease affecting the myelin of the central nervous system. Symptoms can be minimal at first, sometimes appearing in only a small number of manifestations and then disappearing briefly. Symptoms also vary widely from case to case. So what are the possible symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Depending on which parts of the central nervous system are being attacked by, symptoms of multiple sclerosis may persist subtly for relatively long periods of time with the patient unaware of their possibly being attributed to multiple sclerosis. Although there is no known cure for MS, several treatment options exist to manage symptoms and inhibit the progress of the disease.

Common symptoms include suddenly weak or clumsy legs, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, physical sensations of heaviness, as well as several divergent symptoms such as both frequent urination and trouble urinating, and incontinence and constipation. Depression is a common symptom resulting from the emotional trauma of diagnosis.

As the central nervous system begins to deteriorate, speech impediments commonly develop, often characterized by a slow cadence and overemphasize every syllable.

If the optic nerve becomes particularly affected, the patient may experience nystagmus, double vision, eyelid drooping, tenderness and pain in the eyes, as well as blurred vision. In more serious cases, temporary blindness may occur in one or both of the eyes.

Given the wide variety of symptoms caused by multiple sclerosis, the type of treatment depends on exactly how, and to what extent, the MS is affecting the patient.   

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