Multiple sclerosis - symptoms, causes and treatments

Multiple sclerosis is a common disease of the central nervous system, which belongs to the group of inflammatory demyelinating diseases. About 2 million people worldwide suffer from this disease, mostly between the ages of 20 and 40; women are almost twice as likely as men to be affected.

Why does Multiple Sclerosis occur

Why does Multiple Sclerosis occur?

The causes of multiple sclerosis are not fully known. Its formation is greatly influenced by demyelinating foci around the brain and spinal cord. Multiple Sclerosis "attacks" myelin, which is responsible for building the envelope of nerve fibres, causing their destruction. The "naked" fibers can't conduct signals from the central nervous system well, which is why neurological problems occur.

There are several speculations about the causes of multiple sclerosis:

  • autoimmune factor - During the autoimmune process, the body produces proteins (autoantibodies) that destroy myelin (its own nerve fibres), which in turn causes the body to attack itself;
  • genetic factor - it has been proven that the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is almost 20 times more likely to be made to relatives of first-degree patients;
  • environmental factor - pollution, smoking, constant diets, vitamin D deficiency, hormonal disturbances, as well as the place of residence and birth do affect the risk of multiple sclerosis: the further a person is born and lived from the equator, the higher the probability of disease.

It is also noted that patients with autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes and thyroid disease are at greater risk of individual development of multiple sclerosis.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Signs of disease may appear several years before the diagnosis. One of them is fatigue independent of physical activity, as well as retrobulbar inflammation of the optic nerve, which is preceded by frequent visual disturbances.

In the first stage of the disease, the most frequent symptoms of multiple sclerosis are:

  • extremity paresis (reduction in muscle strength, but not yet paralysis;
  • visual disturbances (visual field defects and double vision);
  • sensory disturbances;
  • balance and movement coordination problems.

Symptoms are not uniform and not always the same in all patients. Most often they appear as a group of symptoms - some will be paresis, others will have mild hypoesthesia (low sensitivity). In subsequent phases, they are accompanied by sphincter disorders, emotional instability, muscle tension, dizziness and frequent falls.

Neurological symptoms of multiple sclerosis:

  • from the eye side - pain in the eye and brow, double vision, nystagmus (tremor), eye disorders, inflammation of the optic nerve;
  • sensory disturbances - tingling, cold or hot sensation, numbness, hypersensitivity to heat;
  • balance and coordination problems - excessively large amplitude of movement, partial loss of control of the limbs, trembling of the hands, loss of balance, coordination problems;
  • spasticity (muscle tension disorders) - muscle stiffness, muscle cramps, pathological reflexes;
  • speech problems - gibberish, slow speech;
  • problems with urination and defecation - urinary incontinence, constipation or lack of control over stool, sphincter, feeling of incomplete defecation, frequent defecation;
  • sexual problems - reduced libido, impotence, less sensitivity to touch, late ejaculation;
  • emotional, cognitive and psychopathological disorders - short term memory problems, depression, moodiness, fatigue, learning problems, concentration and speech disorders.

Fatigue syndrome is a sign that appears almost the first. Fatigue is the strongest in the afternoon.

Can multiple sclerosis be cured

Can multiple sclerosis be cured?

The treatment of multiple sclerosis is based on the prevention and elimination of symptoms by using glucocorticosteroids, which can be taken intravenously or orally by the patient. When such therapy is ineffective, immunosuppressants are prescribed to suppress immune system activity. In the treatment of multiple sclerosis, regular rehabilitation and exercise are beneficial.

In case of recurrence of the disease steroid drugs are used to speed up symptom control and reduce the severity of inflammatory response in the demyelinating focus. If the disease is rapidly progressing, the patient is prescribed immunosuppressants.

Symptomatic pharmacological treatment and rehabilitation procedures help with high muscle tension and sphincter disorders. Patients suffering from multiple sclerosis, take painkillers to reduce muscle tension, as well as drugs regulating defecation, if necessary - and antidepressants.

The beneficial effects of a healthy lifestyle on patients cannot be ignored. Taking care of the right weight, preventing physical and psychological fatigue, preventing inflammatory reactions will help protect the body from a new relapse.