Multiple sclerosis is a kind of autoimmune, neurological disease, which typically affects the nerves of the body. With multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the body’s own myelin, which is typically responsible for protecting the nerves from any kind of injury. These unprotected nerves are damaged, reducing their functionality to almost zero percent. Such destruction further produces a host of symptoms to surface, which typically vary in severity.
Here, in this post, we’ve mentioned some interesting facts about multiple sclerosis.
- It is a Chronic Condition
Just like any other autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis too is a chronic condition. This means that it’s a long-lasting illness and there’s no such cure available for it. That said, it’s also important to note that multiple sclerosis is not fatal in almost 80 percent of its cases. Most of the people with this autoimmune, neurological condition have a standard life expectancy. Only a handful of people with this ailment lose face severe complications and survive for a shorter span of time.
Furthermore, owing to the fact that it’s a lifelong condition, most of its symptoms can be easily managed and controlled with the help of specific medications and certain lifestyle adjustments.
- Its Symptoms Widely Vary
Different people with multiple sclerosis witness different symptoms. The list is quite long. However, certain symptoms are common to all patients with multiple sclerosis. These include numbness and tingling, slurred speech, balance and mobility issues, and vision problems.
- Multiple Sclerosis Fades and Relapse
Almost two-third majority of people with multiple sclerosis face remissions and relapsing. A relapse is when a person experiences a flare-up of the symptoms. These are also called exacerbations.
Remission, on the other hand, refers to a period in which a person experiences no symptoms of the ailment. The period can last from a couple of weeks to months, and in some cases, many years. But, a remission does not suggest that a person does not have multiple sclerosis. Medications for this condition can, however, help in putting the patient into remission for as long as possible. Though, symptoms will return at some point.
- There’s a Cognitive Side of Multiple Sclerosis
Damage done by multiple sclerosis can significantly affect the nerves of the body along with one’s critical thinking ability along with other cognitive (mental) skills. It is not uncommon for people with this problem to face difficulty in remembering things and finding the right words to express themselves. Other cognitive effects typically include:
- The patient’s inability to concentrate
- His/her impaired problem-solving skills
- Facing trouble with spatial relations
Such a cognitive condition can also cause depression, frustration, and unnecessary anger.
- Multiple Sclerosis is a Silent Disease
Multiple sclerosis is termed as a “silent disease.” Most people with this disease do not look any different from normal individuals because some prominent symptoms of multiple sclerosis such as blurred vision, sensory problems, and chronic pain, are hardly visible.
Multiple sclerosis is also stated as a silent disease because even during its period of remission, the disease progresses. This, in medical terms, is referred to as the “silent progression” of multiple sclerosis.
- People with Multiple Sclerosis Must Stay Cool
Most physicians recommend that individuals with multiple sclerosis must stay cool as much as possible. This is because, heat intolerance becomes a common problem amid such people and it often worsens the symptoms. A person with exacerbation is most likely to experience a spike in his/her symptoms from:
- Hot weather or exposure to the sun
- Fever or an illness
- A hot bath
- Overexertion from exercise
Sitting under a fan, in an air conditioned room and having cool drinks significantly help in compressing the condition. Wearing lightweight clothes which allow the skin to breathe easier is also a good idea.
It is essential to understand the fact that while multiple sclerosis can relapse due to heat, it is not classified as one of the reasons behind a person suffering the disease in the first place.
- Vitamin D Plays an Impotent Role
Many pieces of research have showcased a relationship between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. The nutrient can protect the body from developing multiple sclerosis and fewer relapses amid people with this condition.
While sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D, exposure to heat can also cause heat-induced relapse. For this, physicians recommend less risky sources of vitamin D to people multiple sclerosis, which include, fortified milk, orange juice, and certain breakfast cereals. Salmon, tuna, cod liver oil and eggs are other great sources of vitamin D.
- It’s a Treatable Disease
It was just a few years ago that physicians had no concrete treatment plan for people with multiple sclerosis. However, with the advancement in the field of medical science, new improved medications are now available for treating this autoimmune, neurological disease.
- Four Types of Multiple Sclerosis
Medical science recognizes four different types of multiple sclerosis. These are as follows:
- secondary-progressive, and
People with relapsing-remitting type of multiple sclerosis experience remission attacks, when the disease does is not progressing. Nearly 85 percent of people have this condition. The progressive types of multiple sclerosis are more difficult to treat and manage as they witness few or no episodes of remission between the attacks. Such types of multiple sclerosis conditions are rare.
- Multiple Sclerosis Medications are Evolving
While physicians are still using steroid drugs for treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, but the latest advancement in its treatment came recently with the introduction of medication called disease-modifying drugs. These are given to an affected individual as soon as the disease is detected in them. It prevents the immune system from getting into the brain as well as the spinal cord.
Other medications for multiple sclerosis are given by periodic intravenous infusion, and some can also be taken through the mouth. Newer and newer drugs are being introduced which have fewer side effects, can be taken by mouth and may be given only a couple of times during the entire course of treatment.