Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

By: Lauren Alicea

What is it?

An autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Etiology

  • Caused by damage to the myelin sheath. Sheath is the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When the sheath is damaged the nerve signals show down or stop.
  • Not exactly known what cause MS but a common thought is a virus or gene defect.
  • More likely to get MS if you have a family history or live in part of the world where MS is more common.
  • Affects women more than men.
  • Diagnosed between ages 20 to 40

Signs & Symptoms

  • Depends on the location. The severity of each attack can be different.
  • Symptoms appear in many parts of the body.

Muscle Symptoms:

  • Muscle spasms
  • Problems walking

Bladder Symptoms:

  • Urine leakage
  • Frequent need to urinate

Eye Symptoms:

  • Double vision
  • Uncontrollable rapid eye movement

Numbness, Tingling, or pain:

  • Facial pain
  • Painful muscle spasms

Other Brain and Nerve Symptoms:

  • Hearing loss
  • Depression or feelings of sadness

Speech and Swallowing Symptoms:

  • Trouble chewing and swallowing
  • Slurred or difficult to understand speech

Diagnostic Test

  • No one test that can show if someone has MS.
  • A neurologist who specializes in MS should be able to look into how you're feeling and help you figure out if you have it.

Test to see if your spinal cord and brain are working right:

  • MRI
  • Spinal Taps- checks fluid that runs through your spinal column
  • Electrical Test
  • Blood test

Prognosis

  • Should live the normal life expectancy. Some have 35 years after being diagnosis.
  • In worst cases, unable to write, speak, or walk.
  • Damage to the central nervous system

Prevention

No way to prevent MS. Scientist are still trying to figure out how to prevent Multiple Sclerosis.

Treatment

  • No known cure MS.
  • There are treatments to slow the disease
  • Medicines
  • Steroids to decrease the severity of attacks
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Medicines to control muscle spasms, urinary problems, fatigue, or mood problems