Multiple Sclerosis: Causes, Symptoms, Management

Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord, caused by demyelination of nerve fibres.
In simple terms: the brain and spinal cord is like transformer (brain) & wires (spinal cord). What happens in multiple sclerosis is that, the coverings (myelin) of these wires (nerves) in the brain and spinal cord is lost/removed (demyelination).

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Things to Know About Multiple Sclerosis

  • Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic illness.
  • It can cause disability in adults.
  • it is more common in women than men.
  • It can be passed in the blood (genetic) from parents to children.
  • There is no specific Test to diagnose the disease.
  • There is no complete cure yet for the disease. Treatment can help, but this disease cannot be cured
  • Less than 100 thousand cases in Nigeria per year.
Multiple Sclerosis is a Chronic demyelinating disease of the CNS.

What is the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis?

Scientists would say that it is an Autoimmune disease. What this mean is that, it is a disease of the body whereby the immune system meant to protect us against foreign bodies, now turns to start attacking the body itself (in this case, the brain & spinal cord), thereby destroying the myelin (the covering of the wire (nerve)) in the process.

Just imagine a situation whereby the police or Military that are supposed to protect us, turns and starts attacking us. This is what Autoimmune means.

A nerve in the body is like a wire in electricity. When there is a problem with the wire connecting your house from the Electricity Pole (brain), you would not have electricity in your house (Hands, legs or any part of the body affected).

When this happens, there would be a problem in communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This is what happens in Multiple Sclerosis.

You can also check out: Allergy/Atopy

What is the Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis?

If you suspect you have signs of multiple sclerosis, Please see a doctor.

Again, there is no permanent cure yet for Multiple sclerosis.
Treatments given is only to prevent deterioration/worsening of condition & to help hasten recovery from attacks. Also to manage the different symptoms that the person would be having (mostly pains) and delay the progression of the disease.

What are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

The Symptoms of the disease are different from one person to another, and also depends on the stage of the disease. Examples of these symptoms are;

  • Weakness or Loss of sensation in one or more limbs; The person can stop walking or moving their hands
  • Electric-shock sensations with some movements of the neck;
  • inability to walk in a straight way. unsteady.
  • Partial or complete inability to see;
    Others are: Blurry vision, speech difficulties, Fatigue, Dizziness.
  • Tingling or pain in parts of your body.

Risk Factors (Things that can predispose you) to developing Multiple Sclerosis

They include;

  • Age: It can occur at any age, but it is more common between 30-55.
  • Gender: it is twice as common in women than men.
  • Family: Like most disease, It can be passed from parents to their children through the genes.
  • Infections: Some viruses has been linked to the disease. Example is the Ebstein Barr Virus.
  • Race: It is more common in whites than blacks.
  • Vitamin D: Deficiency of Vitamin D, and poor exposure to sunlight have been linked to the disease.

Complications From Multiple Sclerosis

Other conditions that may arise in individuals who have multiple sclerosis are:

  • Paralysis or Muscle stiffness.
  • Bladder or Bowel Problems
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Others are Depression, Epilepsy.

Preventive Measures for Multiple Sclerosis

To delay or prevent it, we have to do well to modify or avoid the avoidable risk factors.

Let us continue to raise awareness and campaign with everyone affected by Multiple Sclerosis.

Video Courtesy of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria.

Authors

  • Obasi Chinedu David attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, in ituku-ozalla, Enugu state, Nigeria.

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