Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS), which comprises the brain and the spinal cord. It is responsible for controlling most functions of the body and brain. MS happens when the immune system attacks healthy cells, nerve fibers, and myelin, a fatty protective sheath that surrounds healthy nerve fibers. This disease can cause inflammation, deterioration, or permanent damage to the nerves. It can also lead to paralysis, vision loss, and mobility problems. More than 2.3 million people around the world have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The symptoms of the disease vary from person to person, and the symptoms can affect any part of the body. Here are some of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness and tingling
- Sexual disinterest
- Bladder problems
- Bowel problems
- Vision problems or vision loss
- Electric shock sensation
What are the Stages of Multiple Sclerosis?
There are four types of multiple sclerosis as follows-
Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)– This is the first episode of MS. It lasts for at least 24 hours.
Relapsing-remitting (RRMS)- This is the most common type of MS. Around 85% of the people with MS have relapsing-remitting.
Secondary progressive (SPMS)– This is considered the secondary stage of relapsing-remitting MS. During this stage, symptoms can steadily worse and can accumulate nerve damage.
Primary progressive MS (PPMS)– It is more severe than the RRMS and it can also get worse over time. You won’t experience relapses and remissions. Problems in walking are the first symptoms of MS.
What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?
The causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown. However, research and studies have shown that these following factors can trigger MS-
- Age: MS can occur at any age. But more cases occur between 20 and 40 years of age.
- Sex: Women are more affected than men.
- Family History: Genetic history can trigger MS.
- Infections: Infections such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV6), and mycoplasma pneumonia are linked to causing MS.
- Environmental Factors: Environment plays a major role in worsening MS. People living in colder regions are more affected by DS than people living in hot regions.
- Smoking: People who smoke have an increased risk of MS.
- Vitamin Deficiency: Less exposure to sunlight and low levels of Vitamin D can cause MS. Lack of vitamin B12 can also increase the chance of developing the disease.
Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis and Treatment
There are no specific tests to diagnose multiple sclerosis. However, treatment, medicine, and lifestyle changes can slow down the progress of the disease.