There are numerous prevalent medical diseases and conditions worldwide that often go overlooked because of their severity. Most people are too busy in their daily lives to focus on their health and body, and so many of them miss the signs and symptoms that they’re going through in the process.
It is crucial for all people to be aware of their mental and physical health at all times, so they can get themselves checked by the right professionals at the right time to avoid any irreparable damage in the future. One of the problems that many people face globally includes Multiple Sclerosis.
Why the MS problem is a huge issue globally
A global survey conducted by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) shows that multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Up to 2013, the approximate number of cases of MS globally increased up to 2.3 million, which means that about 33 people out of every 100,000 people s affected by MS.
According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Canada has one of the largest rates of multiple sclerosis across the globe, with an approximately 77,000 Canadian population living with the condition. While it is most commonly seen in young adults between 15 and 40 years of age, infants and senior citizens can also be diagnosed with the disease.
A common myth that many people believe about multiple sclerosis is that once you’re diagnosed with it, there is no present treatment method to deal with the condition. This is one of the reasons people with MS avoid getting consultations at the right time. You should get checked at Pillars of Wellness to see your treatment options and choose which one works best for you.
What exactly is Multiple Sclerosis?
According to MedicineNet, multiple sclerosis is a condition that has to do with an immunity-propagated process that causes an abnormal reaction with the body’s immune system, resulting in damages to the central nervous system tissues.
The immune system essentially attacks the body’s myelin, which is a substance that covers and insulates nerves fibers. This results in demyelination, which in turn causes nerve damage. Since the accurate pathogen or target of the body’s immunity attacks is unknown, many professionals choose to refer to multiple sclerosis as an “immune-mediated” disease as opposed to an “autoimmune” disease.
What are the causes and risk factors?
As of now, the cause of multiple sclerosis is still not known. There are various theories involving the causes of MS in different people. These hypotheses range from vitamin D deficiency to viral infections. Certain sources also consider excessive salt intake in daily diets as a possible cause.
That said, none of these theories has yet to be proven accurate. What is known is that the disease is not contagious, so there is no fear of passing it on from one person to the other. The risk factors for MS include:
- Age: MS commonly affects people aged 15-60
- Sex: Women are more prone to develop MS
- Family history: Your risk of MS is high if one of your parents or siblings has the condition
- Certain infections: Infectious mononucleosis can result in MS
- Race: Caucasians, especially of Northern European descent, are at high risk
- Climate: MS is more common in areas with temperate climates like Canada, northern US, New Zealand, southeast Australia and Europe
- Certain autoimmune diseases: These include thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease
- Smoking: Smokers are more likely to face recurrent MS symptoms than non-smokers
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis depend on the location and degree of demyelination in the body. These include:
- Visual disturbances like double vision
- Loss of vision
- Mild to severe weakness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pregnancy issues
- Urinary retention
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle incoordination
- Painful and uncontrollable muscle contractions
- Slurring in speech
Make sure to get yourself checked at Pillars of Wellness if you face any of these signs and symptoms so you can get the appropriate treatment.
How do you diagnose MS?
Doctors will collect the relevant patient history and conduct a complete physical examination to look for signs of injury to the brain or spinal cord and see what area is damaged. Imaging studies can confirm an MS diagnosis. The most common test requested is an MRI of the brain and spine. CT scans, though useful in locating certain brain injuries, cannot reveal any changes related to MS in better detail.
A spinal tap, or lumbar puncture, collect cerebrospinal fluid to test it for the presence of protein, inflammatory markers, and other chemicals. This is only performed if the findings of an MRI are not clear enough or do not give anything substantial.
Evoked potential testing can detect slowed response times of the optic nerve, auditory nerve, spinal cord, and brainstem. These aren’t specific for MS diagnosis though. In the case of MS possibility, blood tests are done to rule out other conditions like Lyme disease, vasculitis, lupus, and HIV.
How do you treat it?
MS has no cure to date. Treatment involves quick recovery from attacks, slowing MS progression and dealing with the symptoms. Treatment options include:
- Corticosteroids like oral prednisone and IV methylprednisolone
- Plasma exchange
- Physical therapy
- Muscle relaxants
- Medications to minimize fatigue
- Medications to treat depression, pain, sexual dysfunction, and bladder or bowel issues
How physical therapy can help you with MS
Annie, 34, noticed that her legs felt weak and unstable when climbing stairs and her left foot felt fatigued after long walks. Her neurologist got an MRI and a lumbar puncture, and she found out she had early-stage MS.
Annie felt terrible, but her physician gave her the right medications and recommended her to a physical therapist. She then carried out a physical therapy program at home and at the clinic. Soon, Annie was able to take long walks without getting tired, she could climb stairs more easily and her balance improved.
You can get the right physical therapy treatment programs by scheduling an appointment with Pillars of Wellness to get yourself back on track!