Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Overview of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system acts against its own tissues. As in the case of MS, it is the coating that acts as an insulating layer around the nerves, myelin sheath, which is destroyed. Due to this, nerve impulses do not travel as quickly as they normally do, resulting in a wide range of symptoms. If left untreated, the symptoms might aggravate resulting in severe complications.
The average life expectancy of an MS patient is around seven to ten years less than someone without this condition. Life expectancy in the case of MS can be considerably improved further if timely interventions are implemented. However, if the condition progresses quickly, MS might prove to be deadly.
Doctors Treating Multiple Sclerosis (MS)120 Doctors Available
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
In MS, there is a range of symptoms that develop over time and possibly worsen as the condition progresses. The most common early symptoms that appear and exacerbate over time are:
- Muscle weakness and spasms
- Vision problems
- Fatigue and pain
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Sensory problems
Types of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
There are four main types of MS which are categorized based on the way the condition progresses over time which is listed as follows:
- Relapsing-Remitting MS: This is the most common type of MS where the patient undergoes phases of relapses, where symptoms appear and last either for days or weeks, and phases of remission where symptoms disappear only to reappear during relapses.
- Secondary-Progressive MS: This type of MS follows after Relapsing-Remitting MS where the symptoms for MS worsen more steadily over time.
- Primary-Progressive MS: Under this state, the symptoms worsen slowly from the beginning without any phases of relapses or remissions. This type is very uncommon amongst people.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS: Another rare type where symptoms worsen steadily over time from the beginning. This involves phases of acute relapses only.
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS can either be caused by internal factors, for example, through the inheritance of certain genes or then through external factors, for example, viral infections. Therefore, a combination of both sets can be a cause of MS. This includes the following:
- Viral infections
- Inflammation due to some immune response
- Inheritance of genes from someone who has MS
However, all these factors are ‘likely to be the cause of MS. Further research to understand the reasons why MS exactly develops and ways to treat it, is therefore required.
Risk Factors of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Based on the symptoms, it is hard to trace them to MS considering how these symptoms are common for other different conditions or diseases. Unfortunately, based on one attack of MS symptoms, it is hard to diagnose the condition. However, with at least two separate attacks, a diagnosis can be made with certainty. In that regard, there are numerous tests that can be undertaken to confirm the development of the condition.
- Blood tests: To eliminate the possibility of other conditions that share the same symptoms as MS.
- Lumbar Puncture: A small amount of cerebrospinal fluid is removed from the spinal cord and tested for the presence of certain antibodies specific to the MS condition.
- MRI scan: It produces a detailed image of the brain or spinal cord showing the presence of any tissue abnormalities (lesions) due to damage to the myelin sheath.
- Evoked potential test: This records the electrical impulse produced due to a given impulse using electrodes placed on the head. This would show how quickly nerve impulses travel along. Any delay in the process might imply the presence of MS.
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) | When to Consult a Doctor
So far there is no cure for MS. The only way to treat this condition is to slow the progression of MS, speeding the recovery process from MS attacks, or ameliorating the symptoms.
- Intake of steroids to speed up recovery from an MS attack as well as for visual problems.
- Physiotherapy to treat fatigues and muscle stiffness.
- Muscle relaxants for muscular spasms.
- Drugs to curb the autoimmune response that would, in turn, reduce attack on the myelin sheath.
For an effective treatment against MS, it is always best to ask for a prescription from your doctor who will write drugs based on the symptoms you show.
If you feel you are undergoing the above-mentioned symptoms or have family members who are MS patients, you should refer to your doctor immediately so that necessary measures are followed in a timely manner.
In addition to that, there are numerous neurologists within Pakistan who have specializations in conditions like MS. They are based in hospitals all over the country which include Aga Khan University Hospital, Baqai Medical University, Shifa International Hospital, and South City Hospital. Moreover, there is a society, Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Pakistan, that focuses on creating awareness regarding MS as well as providing help to MS patients in terms of early diagnosis as well as aiding them to reach their full potential within societies.
Healthwire.pk, having a user-friendly interface, can assist in this timely intervention by connecting you to top neurologists within Pakistan who have a specialization in MS. Thereby, expediting the whole process of consultation and appointment booking for you.