What is Multiple Sclerosis? Symptoms, Causes, and Its Treatment

Home » Multiple Sclerosis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Garry Stewart
Written By Shasta Wilson

April 21, 2023

Medical Condition- Multiple Sclerosis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Sclerosis refers to a potentially disabling disease of the spinal cord and brain.

During this health condition, a person’s immune system attacks the protective sheath known as myelin that covers the nerve fibers and leads to some communication issues between the brain and body.

And eventually, the health condition can lead to permanent damage of the nerves.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The health condition symptoms vary from person to person and widely depend on the nerve damage and exactly which nerves are damaged.

Some people with Multiple Sclerosis may lose their ability to walk, while others may experience long periods of remission devoid of any symptoms.

Though there is no cure for the health condition, treatments help manage symptoms and help recover from attacks.

The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis may vary from person to person. However, the symptoms of MS can also affect the movement, including:

  • Weakness or numbness in one or more limbs usually takes place on one side of the body at a time.
  • Electric shock sensations that take place with specific neck movements
  • Unsteady gait, tremor, or lack of coordination

Vision issues are also common with health conditions. This includes:

  • Complete or partial vision loss
  • Prolonged double vision

Other symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Slurred speech
  • Dizziness
  • Issues with bowel, sexual, and bladder function
  • Tingling or pain in body parts

When to see a doctor?

You must see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above for any unknown reasons.

Disease Course

Most patients with Multiple Sclerosis have a relapsing-remitting disease course. They often experience repetitive periods of new symptoms or relapses which develop over time. However, a small increase in body temperature can temporarily worsen the symptoms of the health condition.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

The exact cause of the health condition is unknown. But Multiple Sclerosis is considered an autoimmune disease where a person’s body’s immune system attacks its own tissues.

When a person has Multiple Sclerosis, this attack on the immune function and its malfunction destroys the fatty substances that defend the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain.

However, it is still unclear what develops some people’s health conditions. But a combination of several environmental factors and genetics can be responsible.

Risk Factors Included!

Several factors can increase the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis in a person. This includes:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family History
  • Specific infections
  • Race
  • Climate
  • Vitamin D
  • Smoking
  • Specific autoimmune disease

Complications Involved!

People with Multiple Sclerosis may also develop the following complications.

Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis

There is no specific diagnostic test for the health condition, but its diagnosis relies on ruling out some conditions that might lead to similar symptoms.

However, the doctor is likely, to begin with, a thorough medical examination and history. The medical doctor may recommend the following test:

  • Blood tests
    Blood tests help rule out several other diseases similar to Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Spinal Tap
    Spinal Tap is a test in which a cerebrospinal fluid’s small sample is eradicated from the spinal canal for laboratory analysis.
  • MRI
    MRI helps reveal the lesions on the brain and spinal cord.
  • Evoked potential tests
    Evoked potential tests record the electrical signals developed by the nervous system in response to the stimuli.

Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

There is no exact cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

The treatment of Multiple Sclerosis usually focuses on speeding the recovery process from attacks while slowing down the progression of the illness and managing the symptoms.

Some people might also experience mild symptoms for which no treatment is required.

Specific treatments for MS attacks

  • Corticosteroids
    Corticosteroids like intravenous methylprednisolone and prednisone are prescribed to mitigate nerve inflammation.However, the side effects of the treatment may include increased blood pressure, insomnia, mood swings, fluid retention, and higher blood glucose levels.
  • Plasma Exchange
    The liquid portion of the blood is eradicated and separated from the blood cells. These blood cells are then mixed with the protein solution and put back in the body.

Specific Treatments to modify the Progression

Ocrelizumab is the topmost FDA-approved disease-modifying therapy for the primary Multiple Sclerosis progression. Patients who receive this treatment are less likely to experience the progression than those who are untreated.

The treatments to stop progression may include injectable and oral medications.

Injectable treatments may include

  • Interferon-beta medications
  • Glatiramer Acetate

Oral treatments may include

  • Fingolimod
  • Dimethyl Fumarate
  • Diroximel Fumarate
  • Teriflunomide
  • Siponimod
  • Cladribine

Infusion Treatments may include

  • Ocrelizumab
  • Natalizumab
  • Alemtuzumab

Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and Signs

Physical Therapies

Physical therapies can build up muscle strength and also ease some symptoms. This includes

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Specific Physical therapy
  • Medications to mitigate fatigue
  • Medications to increase the walking speed
  • Other medications

Home remedies and lifestyle changes

To relieve the symptoms of the health condition, a person must

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Exercise a lot
  • Cool Down
  • Relieve stress
  • Eat a balanced diet

Questions your doctor might ask!

  • When did you first experience the symptoms?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Are the symptoms occasional or continuous?
  • What if anything worsens the symptoms?
  • What do you do to ease the symptoms?
  • Does anyone in your family have the disease?

Questions you must ask your doctor!

  • What is the most likely cause of the symptoms?
  • Is the condition temporary or chronic?
  • What treatments are available?
  • Do the tests for diagnosing the health condition require any special preparation?
  • Will the condition progress?

Bottom Line!

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic health condition that directly affects the central nervous system that including the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves.

Though there is no specific treatment that can cure the health condition, still people look for relief in natural remedies to deal with the symptoms. You must consult the doctor if you experience any of the symptoms.

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