Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the nerves. It is also an autoimmune disease which means your body’s natural defenses against illness break down and start attacking your own cell. As a result, the nerves are damaged and brain and body communication is disrupted.
Know more about this unpredictable chronic disease of the nervous system:
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS):– MS with relapses (symptoms getting worse) followed by remissions is referred to as relapsing-remitting MS. While your disability doesn’t get worse in between relapses, it may worsen after each one. With time your body becomes less capable of repairing the damage that each relapse causes. As a result, if you delay getting treatment, your disability is likely to worsen.
A relapse occurs when you experience new symptoms or recurrences of old symptoms for an extended period of time without an infection or change in your core body temperature.
Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS):– This type of MS follows RRMS with symptoms and gets worse with time. Relapses in which your symptoms get worse before getting better are no longer likely to occur.
Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS):- PPMS is a rare form of MS in which there are no relapses or remissions and the symptoms gradually worsen. PPMS affects 10-15% of people suffering from MS. It is called primary progressive MS because it progresses after the main symptoms. It is discovered in people in their 40s. Early signs like problems with walking are often subtle and become more apparent with time. Relapses with PPMS are usually rare or absent.
Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS):– The rarest type of MS, with acute relapses and worsening symptoms but no remission intervals.
Up to 85% of MS patients are initially diagnosed with RRMS. With time, almost half of the people with RRMS will also develop SPMS.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Symptoms of MS can vary and depend upon the type of MS you have. And symptoms can change with time. One of the first signs of MS in patients is vision problems which include the onset of blurred vision or pain in the eye.
Other common symptoms are :
- Fatigue makes it difficult to work and perform at home.
- Walking difficulties such as loss of balance and weakness.
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities or on the face.
- Spasticity includes stiffness and severe muscle cramps.
Vertigo, itching, constipation, sexual problems, bladder dysfunction, cognitive changes, and depression are other symptoms that some MS patients may experience.
Pain is one of the most debilitating signs of MS and happens in the form of headaches, back pain, or burning pain in the extremities. Speech and swallowing problems, hearing loss, breathing problems, tremors, and seizures are less common symptoms of MS. MS is difficult to diagnose due to its wide array of symptoms. Several tests such as MRI, spinal tap, and evoked potential tests are usually required for the diagnosis of MS.
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?
Although there is no cure for MS, symptoms, decrease pain, speed-up recovery after flare-ups, and slow down the progression of the disease can be managed with treatment.
Your doctor may recommend corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Insomnia, elevated blood pressure, increased blood sugar, mood swings, and fluid retention are possible side effects.
Plasma exchange can be helpful if severe symptoms do not improve with corticosteroids. Plasma is separated from your blood cells. After being combined with a protein solution, albumin the blood cells are then put into your body. Your symptoms may be improved by plasma exchange if they’re new, severe, and haven’t responded to steroids.
Treatment options for MS progression include injections, oral medications, and infusion therapies. Physical therapy, muscle relaxants, and drugs that reduce fatigue may also be recommended by doctors.