All you need to know about Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
There is a long-term condition called multiple sclerosis that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. It is a long-term condition and a lot of different things can happen in the body as a result of this.
The progress of multiple sclerosis (MS) can’t be predicted for any one person because MS is different for everyone. Some may experience blurred vision, numbness, and tingling in their limbs. In very bad cases, people can become paralyzed, lose their vision, and have trouble moving around. However, this is not the norm.
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Scientists don’t know for sure what causes MS, but they think it’s an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. In people who have an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks healthy tissue, just like it would attack a virus or bacteria or a foreign particle in the body.
Myelin sheaths that surround and protect nerve fibers are attacked by the immune system when someone has MS. This causes the nerves to become irritated. Myelin helps nerves send electrical signals quickly and efficiently. When the myelin sheath is gone or damaged in a lot of places, it leaves a scar, or sclerosis. A doctor may also call these places plaques or lesions.
Multiple Sclerosis that comes back and goes away (MS)
At the time of diagnosis, 90% of people will have a relapsing-remitting course of disease. This type of multiple sclerosis is when the neurological symptoms start to show up over a few hours or even days. common signs of a relapse:
- Blurred vision, double vision, or not being able to see at all can happen.
- A shaky step
These symptoms usually last for a few days or weeks, and then they either go away on their own or with treatment. For weeks, months, or even years, they may not have any symptoms (known as remission). Without treatment, most people with MS will have symptoms that will get worse over time (known as relapsing).
Multiple Sclerosis that gets worse over time (MS)
Between 10-15% of people with MS will see their condition get worse over time. People with primary-progressive MS say that over time, their mobility has changed, and they can’t always go for a walk. They often talk about feeling heavy and stiff in their lower limbs. There are very few people with primary-progressive MS who have an exacerbation of their MS (relapse). This type of MS is called Progressive-Relapsing. It happens when there is a relapse after a primary progressive course has been well-established.
Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis
Relapsing-remitting MS is different from secondary progressive MS if it changes to the point where there are no clear relapses and remissions. They all had a relapsing and remitting disease course when they first got MS, but now their condition is getting worse. In secondary progressive MS, the symptoms keep getting worse and there is no time off from them.
There may be times when symptoms stay the same, but the overall trend is for them to get worse over the long run. A lot of the time, people talk about how their abilities have changed when they compare them to how they used to be, but they don’t always say what happened that caused them to get worse. After the person gets secondary progressive MS, they may have a relapse. The course would then be called secondary progressive MS with relapses, but it would still be called MS.
Can you live with MS?
Those who have had MS for about 15 years will have mild disease. Benign MS is a mild course, and those who have had MS for about 15 years will have mild disease. This happens in about 5% to 10% of patients. Doctors can’t tell who will go on this course. Only after someone has had MS for at least 15 years and there has been no sign of it getting worse can they be sure it isn’t real MS (both in functional ability and as evidenced on the MRI). After a few years with MS, you can’t know for sure whether you’ll have a “harmless” form of MS.
How do you treat MS?
Treating MS has three parts:
- Treating attacks
- Disease-modifying therapy to lessen the chances of more attacks.
- Treatment for the effects of previous attacks.
Over the course of 3-5 days, high doses of steroids are given to people with MS who have an attack. Treating attacks with steroids helps to shorten and lessen the symptoms.
It is very important for people with multiple sclerosis to get treatment that helps them get better. DMTs are the best way to change the course of MS. Clinical studies have shown that DMTs:
- Reduce the number of attacks
- Slow growth of a disability
- Keep your brain from getting old at a slow rate
Until recently, there were only a few drugs that could be injected to stop MS attacks. There are now a lot more medicines that can help prevent attacks, and these are better than the ones that used to work. Infusions and oral medications are two different types of medicines.
MS management also includes treating symptoms from previous attacks that haven’t been solved. For example, you can go for physical therapy to learn how to move better and stay stable. Urinary urgency or incontinence may be relieved with medicine, but this isn’t always the best way to go. Medicine may also be able to help lessen the stiffness in muscles caused by nerve damage. Medicine can be used to treat pain or other problems with your senses.
Getting rid of symptoms during a flare
Other drugs can help when a person has more symptoms during a flare. They won’t always need these drugs. Among these drugs are corticosteroids, which reduce inflammation and weaken the immune system. There are some types of MS that can be treated with these medicines. Solu-Medrol (methylprednisolone) and Deltasone are two examples (prednisone). But steroids can have negative effects if someone takes them too often, and they aren’t likely to help in the long run. Consult with your doctor before taking any medication for MS.