The Knowledge to Multiple Sclerosis
By Neurosurgery Singapore
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).
In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body. Eventually, the disease can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Signs and symptoms of MS vary widely and depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms.
There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, early treatments can help speed recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.
What are some symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
People with Multiple Sclerosis experience a wide range of symptoms. Due to the nature of the disease, symptoms can vary widely from person to person.
They can also change in severity from year to year, month to month, and even day to day.
The main symptoms include:
- difficulty walking
- vision problems, such as blurred vision
- problems controlling the bladder
- numbness or tingling in different parts of the body
- muscle stiffness and spasms
- problems with balance and co-ordination
- problems with thinking, learning and planning
Depending on the type of Multiple Sclerosis one has, the symptoms may come and go in phases or get steadily worse over time (progress).
“Multiple Sclerosis is the most widespread neurological condition that causes young adults to live with disabilities worldwide.”
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What types of diagnosis?
A neurological exam is need to diagnose the issue. Our Neurologist will talk about your clinical history and order a series of other tests to determine if you have Multiple Sclerosis.
Diagnostic testing may include the following:
- MRI scan. Using a contrast dye with the MRI allows our doctor to detect active and inactive lesions throughout your brain and spinal cord.
- Optical coherence tomography (OCT). In this test, a picture is taken of the nerve layers in the back of your eye to check for thinning around the optic nerve.
- Spinal tap (lumbar puncture). Our doctor may order a spinal tap to find abnormalities in your spinal fluid. This test can help rule out infectious diseases. It can also be used to look for oligoclonal bands (OCBs), which can be used to diagnose MS.
- Blood tests. Our specialist may order blood tests to help eliminate the possibility of other conditions that have similar symptoms.
- Visual evoked potentials (VEP) test. This test requires the stimulation of nerve pathways to analyze electrical activity in your brain. In the past, brain stem auditory-evoked and sensory-evoked potential tests were also used to diagnose MS.
A Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis requires evidence of demyelination occurring at different times in more than one area of your brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves. Demyelination is a process that prevents nerves from efficiently sending signals.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a potentially severe health condition that affects the nervous system. Progression of MS is different for each person, so it is hard to predict what will happen, but most people will not experience severe disability.
In recent years, scientists have made rapid progress in developing drugs and treatments for MS. Newer drugs are safer and more effective, and they offer significant hope for slowing disease progression.
As researchers learn more about genetic features and changes that occur with MS, there is also hope that they will be able to predict more easily which kind of MS a person will have and establish the most effective treatment from the earliest stage.
A person who receives appropriate treatment and follows a healthful lifestyle can expect to live the same number of years as a person without MS.