Multiple Sclerosis

 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the nerve cells of the Central Nervous System (CNS). The exact antigen- or target that the immune cells are sensitized to attack- is unknown, which is why MS is considered to be “immune-mediated” rather than “autoimmune.”

Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin- the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers- as well as the nerve fibers themselves. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue (sclerosis), which gives the disease its name. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.

The disease is thought to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors.

People with MS experience different disease courses, which can be mild, moderate or severe.

The first symptoms happen between the ages of 20 and 40. Some symptoms may come and go, while others stay. The disease has a course described as “exacerbations and remissions”.

Keep a diary to record your symptoms to help your doctor recognise the disease.

MS doesn’t have to control your life. You can manage your symptoms so you can stay healthy.

Early Symptoms of MS

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Thinking problems
  • Clumsiness or a lack of coordination
  • Loss of balance
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in an arm or leg

No two people have exactly the same symptoms of MS. You may have a single symptom, and then go months or years without any others.

The most common Symptoms of MS are

Unusual sensations: “pins and needles” sensation. You may also have numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains.

Bladder and Bowel problems: You may need to pee often, need to go at night, or have trouble emptying your bladder fully. Bowel problems, especially constipation, are also common.

Trouble walking: MS can cause muscle weakness or spasms, which make it harder to walk. Balance problems, numb feet, and fatigue can also make walking hard.

Dizziness: It’s common to feel dizzy or lightheaded.

Fatigue:  Most MS pateints feel tired during the day, and It’s usually not related to the amount of work they do.

Sexual trouble: These include vaginal dryness in women and erection problems in men. Both men and women may be less responsive to touch, have a lower sex drive, or have trouble reaching orgasm.

Speech  and Swallowing problems: pausing a long time in between words and having slurred or nasal speech are common symptoms of MS. Swallowing may become difficult too.

Thinking problems: You might experience slowed thinking, poor attention, or fuzzy memory. But MS usually does not change your intellect and ability to read and understand conversation.

Tremors: You could experience minor shakes  that make it hard to do everyday activities.

Vision problems:   Your sight may be blurry, gray, or have a dark spot in the center. You may suddenly have eye pain and temporary vision loss.

Because MS varies so much, it’s best not to compare yourself with other people who have MS. Your experience is likely to be different.

Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis Treatment

Medications

Assistive DEvices: walkers,wheelchairs

Physical therapy

Speech  Therapy

Surgery

 

Alternative Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis:

Diet changes:

Although diet is not currently considered a causative factor in MS, there is anecdotal evidence from individuals with MS who have experienced health benefits by changing their diet.

Cutting down on red meat and dairy foods can be of positive effect on the MS patient’s health, but they would need to find alternative sources to provide them with protein, such as fish, beans, pulses, and nuts.

 

Supplements

Vitamin D

Recent research also suggests that vitamin D may have important effects on the immune system. A clinical trial is underway to determine what role vitamin D supplementation might play in reducing MS disease activity.

Because the myeline sheeth is made of a fat layer; omega-3 fatty acids have been the focus of MS studies with some evidence pointing to benefits for relapsing-remitting MS.

 

So I’d say give it a try, but ask your doctor for advice first!

  • Omega-3 fatty acids are found in certain fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, and in fish oil products.
  • Also in canola oil, flaxseed, and walnuts.
  • Fish oil supplements, in pill or liquid form, are the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A daily intake of up to 3 grams is usually considered safe.

MS is neither contagious nor fatal. People with MS have a life expectancy that is not really any different from the general population.

 

I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad