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Multiple Sclerosis

People who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis may experience a variety of symptoms. The nature of the disease makes the symptoms so varied in different patients. The severity of the symptoms may keep changing every year, every month, or even every day.

Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is considered to be a chronic disease which affects the central nervous system. The myelin sheath present on the nerve cells as a protective layer is attacked by the immune system of the body. This can result in swelling, lesions, and formation of scar tissue. This makes it extremely difficult for the brain to produce and send signals to other parts of the body to carry out important functions.

Types

  1. Relapsing-remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS): In this condition there will be clear relapses noticed which are followed by remissions. During the remission phase, the symptoms can be either absent or mild. The disease does not progress in the remission phase.
  2. Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS): It will involve an episode of symptoms which result from demyelination in the CNS. The episode must extend for a period of 24 hours. This type incorporates two type of episodes namely, multifocal and monofocal.
  3. Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS): The neurological function of the body becomes worse as compared to the onset in this type. Though, there might be short stability periods as well.
  4. Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS): When the RRMS becomes more progressive in nature with respect to the disease, SPMS occurs. There might be evidences of noticeable relapses, but may include the gradual deterioration of the body’s functioning.

Symptoms

The most commonly experienced symptoms would be difficulty in walking and fatigue. 80 percent of the people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis claim that they experience fatigue. The fatigue occurring in this condition is more than just feeling tired. It can be extremely debilitating which can affect the performance at work significantly and even in day to day activities.

The reasons that cause the difficulty in walking would be:

  • Muscle spasticity
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Numbness in the feet or legs
  • Muscle weakness

Having an overwhelming fatigue will also add to the difficulty experienced in walking. This can further cause injuries which can result from falling.

Some of the other symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are:

  • Chronic or acute pain
  • Tremor
  • Cognitive difficulties which may involve problem-solving skills, concentration, and memory
  • Speech disorders

Treatment

No cure has been devised for healing Multiple Sclerosis, but treatment options are available.

In case of RRMS, disease-modifying medications can be used for treatment. These drugs help in slowing down the progression of the disease which may result in lowered relapse rate.

Some examples of disease-modifying drugs that are self-injectable in nature include:

  • Glatopa
  • Copaxone
  • Rebif
  • Extavia
  • Avonex
  • Plegridy
  • Betaseron

Oral drugs for treating RRMS are:

  • Teriflunomide (Aubagio)
  • Fingolimod (Gilenya)
  • Dimethyl-fumarate (Tecfidera)

Examples for treatment in the form of intravenous infusion include:

  • Mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
  • Natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada
)

The doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids for treating relapses. Many other treatment methods are incorporated to enhance the quality of life of the person which varies from person to person.

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