What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the body's central nervous system. In this disease, the body's immune system attacks the fatty tissue called myelin that forms a protective covering over nerves leading to inflammation and damage from immune cells.
Our nerves are critical messengers of our body's electrical impulses, and when myelin gets damaged, our nerves cannot function properly. The loss of myelin leads to scar tissue developing called sclerosis. The more the loss of myelin, the more the number of sclerosis, leading to communication problems between the brain and the body.
What are the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?
There are several symptoms of MS, from mild to severe, varying from person to person. Not everyone will get the same symptoms, and not all signs must be present. The symptoms may come and go initially, but as the conditions worsen, they become persistent.
The symptoms of MS include the following:
- Fatigue or tiredness.
- Mobility problems.
- Vision problems.
- Bladder and bowel problems.
- Numbness or tingling.
- Stiff muscles and spasms.
- Lack of balance and coordination.
- Lack of clear thinking, inability to learn.
- Speech problems.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Neuropathic pain in different parts of the body.
- Emotional issues such as mood swings, anxiety or irritability.
- Breathing problems.
What causes Multiple Sclerosis?
What exactly causes Multiple Sclerosis is not established, but it is thought to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The risk factors for the disease include the following:
- Immune system glitch.
- Age: It mainly occurs in people of the 20-40 age group, though younger and older people can also get it.
- Gender: Women are more likely to get MS
- Family history: While MS is not inherited from parent to child, the genetic risk increases.
- Infections: Viral diseases such as Epstein-Barr.
- Low levels of Vitamin D.
- Autoimmune diseases include thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, psoriasis, Type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease.
How is MS diagnosed?
Though there is no specific test for Multiple Sclerosis, your neurologist will carry out a series of tests based on your symptoms.
The diagnostic tests for MS include the following:
- Physical exam.
- Medical history and family history.
- Blood tests.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): It looks for signs of damage or lesions in the brain or spinal cord caused by multiple sclerosis.
- Lumbar puncture (spinal tap): A small sample of cerebrospinal fluid is extracted to check for abnormalities in antibodies associated with MS
- Evoked potential tests use visual or electrical stimuli to examine how smoothly and swiftly electrical signals your nervous system produces travel to the brain.
There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis
- Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS): The most common type, it has clearly defined attacks of symptoms called relapses. A relapse is followed by a full or partial recovery called remission.
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS): The symptoms worsen over time and may or may not have relapses and remissions.
- Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS): This type leads to steady worsening of symptoms without relapses or remissions.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS) leads to steady relapses with minimal remissions as the disease worsens.
- Diagnosing the type of MS accurately is critical to arriving at the most effective course of treatment.
How is MS treated?
The treatment for Multiple Sclerosis depends on the type, symptoms, and challenges you are facing. It focuses on helping you recover by administering therapies for the underlying immune disorder and relieving symptoms. The overall treatment plan includes the following:
- Disease-modifying drugs slow the progression and control relapses by discouraging the immune system from attacking the myelin coating of the nerves.
- Medicines for symptom management: To control problems such as muscle stiffness and spasms, relieve fatigue and depression, improve bladder and bowel function, etc.
- Lifestyle changes to help you better manage your daily activities.
American Hospital Dubai's Neurology Department has the most experienced Multiple Sclerosis experts in the region
Our highly experienced neurologists have vast experience treating Multiple Sclerosis, with a deep understanding of the disease's range and nature. They keep abreast of the newest developments in MS treatments.
They combine their expertise with emerging research to devise a personalized treatment plan for speedy control of symptoms and optimum management, including symptom elimination, minimizing relapses, improving remissions, and enhancing rehabilitation.
Our Neurology Department has the most advanced diagnostic methods and treatment programs for all types of Multiple Sclerosis. Our multi-disciplinary and integrative treatment approach ensures you get the most accurate, efficient treatment and care for MS under one roof.