Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

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Multiple Sclerosis/MS is a disease of the immune system that eats away at the myelin sheath that covers the brain and the spinal cord. This disease is twice as likely in women than in men and usually occurs between the age of twenty and forty. This article covers the different types of MS, symptoms, complications, testing involved with diagnosis, treatments, and the prognosis of the disease.

There are four main types of Multiple Sclerosis. They are Relapsing-Remitting, Primary-Progressive, Secondary-Progressive, and Progressive-Relapsing MS.

•Relapsing-Remitting MS (most common): The patient goes through periods of relapse and periods of                    remission.

•Primary-Progressive MS: The patient’s symptoms slowly, but steadily get worse.

•Secondary-Progressive MS: This form of the disease develops in patients that were previously diagnosed with      Relapsing-Remitting MS. It usually includes periods of relapse and remission, along with symptoms slowly and       steadily getting worse.

•Relapsing MS (least common): People with this form of MS steadily get worse and do not have periods of              remission.

Symptoms include:

•Limbs on one side of the body become numb or weak.

•Vision loss usually in one eye at a time.

•Painful eye movement.

•Blurred vision.

•Pain or tingling in body parts.

•Poor coordination.

•Dizziness

•Fatigue

•Certain movement of the head creates a sensation of electric shock.

Complications involved with Multiple Sclerosis can involve:

•stiffened muscles

•problems going to the bathroom

•sexual dysfunction

•depression

•leg paralysis

•mental changes

•epilepsy

Tests used to diagnose and help treat patients with Multiple Sclerosis are:

• testing of the reflexes, muscle tone, and strength

• balance, coordination, optical, and auditory sense

•blood tests

•spinal tap/lumbar puncture (this is done to check CSF for abnormal leukocyte counts and protein levels to            rule out infection)

•Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

•evoked potential test

Treatments vary for MS, depending on which form of the disease the patient has and the level of progression.  Chemotherapeutic agents, Corticosteroids, and medications used to treat fatigue, depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain, urinary and bowel problems, sexual dysfunction, muscle tics, tremors, nausea, and vertigo are all used in different combinations. MS patients are also given general anti-virals and vaccinations to keep their immune system boosted and healthy. Therapies are also another treatment used to treat Multiple Sclerosis. Some common therapies include: UV Therapy, chiropractic therapy, Bee Venom Therapy, and counseling. Plasmapheresis  is another treatment process that involves taking plasma out of the blood cells of the patient and then returning the cells to his/her body with other fluids replacing the plasma.

The prognosis of a patient depends greatly on which type of MS they have, and the person’s state of general health. Though physical limitations usually present themselves as the disease progresses, most MS patients have a pretty normal life span.

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