This page is intended to provide some "technical" (or medical-related) info about MS…
I know that I’ve mentioned this before, but I need to make sure all visitors understand:
What is MS?…
Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic unpredictable neurological disease. MS can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness.
Currently unknown. Some research suggests multiple sclerosis may be caused by an autoimmune disorder or slow-acting virus. Risk increases with:
- Children and adolescents raised in cool climates. Moving to a warmer climate later does not help.
- Family history of the disease.
The gender or age most affected by MS includes younger adults (ages 20 to 40) of both sexes, but more common in women.
Diagnosing MS can be a challenge unto itself! There are many factors that need to be considered, but, it seems from my experience, that it basically involves the process of eliminating other possible diseases or ailments. Typically, there are two sets of "tools" that are used in the diagnostic process:
- Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. Consultation with a neurologist, especially one well-educated about MS, is very valuable!
- No specific test is available to diagnose MS. Testing may include CT scan, MRI, visual evoked response or VER (electrical response to stimulation of a sensory system), lab studies of spinal fluid.
Definitions & Terms…
MS is a chronic disorder affecting many nervous-system functions. One-third of patients have mild, non-progressive disease. Another third worsen slowly. The rest worsen rapidly. The body parts involved basically encompass the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
- Relapsing-Remitting MS ~
- Worsening Relapsing-Remitting MS ~ disease characterized by clinical attacks without complete remission resulting in a step-wise worsening of disability.
- Secondary Progressive MS ~ disease that has changed from Relapsing-Remitting to Progressive at a variable rate.
- Progressive-Relapsing MS ~ disease characterized by gradual increase in disability from onset with clear, acute relapses along the way.
- Primary Progressive MS ~ characterized by progression from disease onset with no acute attacks or remissions.
(why do you think I call this "My Multiple Sclerosis ROLLER COASTER RIDE"?)
"Features" of MS…
Most people like the technical term: SYMPTOMS — but I prefer to refer to all of these as some of the "FEATURES" that anyone (not everyone) with MS can look forward to:
- Bladder Dysfunction
- Bowel Dysfunction
- Cognitive Function
- Dizziness And Vertigo
- Emotional Aspects
- Optic Neuritis
- Speech And Swallowing Disorders
- Visual Loss
Your doctor may prescribe:
- Cortisone drugs (like Solu-Medrol® or Prednisone®) during periods of relapse or when symptoms worsen.
- Cyclophosphamide, which helps blunt the immune system’s response.
- Muscle relaxants (like Baclofen® or Zanaflex®) to control muscle spasms.
- Ampyra®; ~ Walking Pill
- Avonex®; ~ interferon beta-1a: weekly IM injection
- Betaseron®; ~ interferon beta-1b: every other day SQ inj
- Copaxone®; ~ glatiramer acetate: daily SQ injection
- Gilenya®; ~ fingolimod: daily pill
- Novantrone® ~ IV treatment for SPMS, and worsening RRMS
- Rebif®; ~ interferon beta-1a: 3 times/wk SQ injection
- Berlex Laboratories ~ makers of Betaseron®;
- Biogen Labs ~ makers of Avonex®;
- Serono, Inc. ~ makers of Rebif® & Novantrone®
- Teva Marion ~ makers of Copaxone®;
MS cannot be prevented at present, but relapses can be shortened by therapy. Avoid infections and stress (yeah-right!), which trigger relapses.
- Cleveland Clinic Foundation ~ Cleveland, Ohio
- Mayo Clinic ~ Rochester Minnesota
- Harvard Med ~ Multiple Sclerosis, chronic progressive
- Myelin Project ~ International grassroots organization: mission is to accelerate medical research on myelin repair
- Washington University ~ MS Center at School of Medicine
- National Institute of Health ~ (NINDS) Multiple Sclerosis Info
The Disease "life-cycle"…
- Vague eye problems, such as intermittent blurred or double vision.
- Weakness; difficulty with walking or balance.
- Vague loss of sensation; numbness; tingling.
- Marked weakness; tremor; speaking difficulty.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control.
- Extreme mood swings.
- Sexual impotence in men.
Signs and symptoms vary widely between persons. Sometimes they are mistakenly attributed to emotions or “nerves.”
In addition to any prescribed medications from your doctor, here are some "general" treatments for MS:
- Gather as much Emotional Support as you can: encouragement, and reassurances are helpful in coping.
- Try to live as normal a life as possible: avoid fatigue!
- Avoid warm surroundings: (even a hot shower) heat can temporarily worsen symptoms.
- Try to have frequent massages:
they help prevent spasticity (contractions or tightening of muscles).
- Avoid stress: responsible for major aggravation of symptoms.
- And FINALLY:
Try to not laugh too loud at these "suggested" treatments!
When there is a remission in your symptoms, it is sometimes difficult to determine if it was due to a particular treatment or spontaneous.
Try to keep in mind that there are some "unethical" medical practitioners who offer unproven treatments that are of no value to the MS disease. Discuss any unconventional treatment with your medical team before investing your money!
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