What Is Multiple Sclerosis? – Overview
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the most common chronic, neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system (CNS) among young Australians. According to the latest survey reports, one in 3000 young Australians are affected by this neurodegenerative disorder. Although it is not a contagious disease, it is progressive and unpredictable. No permanent cure is available for this disorder; however, there are many treatment options available to slow its progression.
Causes | What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
In multiple sclerosis (MS), the body’s own natural immune system starts to target and damage the central nervous system (CNS) particularly the protective sheath called myelin that covers the nerve fibers. Damage to the nerve fibers alters, slows or stops nerve transmission and the communication between the brain and the rest of the body is severely disturbed. The real reason as to why the body’s own immune system starts to damage the CNS is still unknown; however, scientists link this to a combination of factors, which include:
- environmental factors
- exposure to certain viruses (Barr Virus)
- vitamin D deficiency
- lifestyle changes
- geographical location (latitude)
Symptoms | What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Since MS can affect any part of the central nervous system (CNS), a wide range of symptoms are possible aside from the loss of sensation and weakness. These symptoms may differ from person to person and change or fluctuate over time, some of the most common symptoms of MS are:
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- dizziness and vertigo
- visual disturbance
- sensitivity to heat and/or cold
- muscle weakness
- vision problems
How is it diagnosed? | What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
No single test or physical examination can diagnose MS; therefore doctors rely on a number of strategies to effectively diagnose multiple sclerosis.
- medical history
- physical examination
- neurological examination
- blood tests
- lumbar puncture
Multiple Sclerosis – Can it be treated?
MS is a slow progressive disease and there is no permanent cure for MS. The treatment options usually focus on slowing down the pace of progression of the disease, managing symptoms of MS, and speeding up the recovery process. The typical treatment plan for MS includes a mix of:
- medical treatments