In everyday life, we often use the word “sclerosis”, referring to forgetfulness. However, in fact, the medical term comes from the Greek word skleros (solid) and means the process of sealing various organs and tissues, replacing their elements with fibrous (connective) tissue.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the nervous system in which there are multiple scattered foci of demyelination (destruction of myelin) in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of the disease have nothing to do with senile dementia, a person’s intelligence, as a rule, remains intact.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune lesion of the nervous system, in which the human immune system mistakenly perceives the white matter of the brain (mainly myelin – nerve sheaths) as a foreign structure and begins to fight it.
The number of patients with autoimmune diseases is increasing every year, as people have less and less contact with nature, and the immune system receives less and less stress from the outside. There is no single cause of multiple sclerosis, but there are a number of factors that can make it more likely. These factors include: living in the northern latitudes (in Russia, Canada and the Scandinavian countries – the highest incidence rate in the world), vitamin D deficiency, belonging to the Caucasian race and genetic predisposition.
Unfortunately, at the moment there are no markers clearly associated specifically with multiple sclerosis, there are only markers of a general tendency to autoimmune diseases. It is not uncommon for patients with multiple sclerosis to have other similar ailments, such as asthma and autoimmune thyroid disease.
Most often, the first signs of multiple sclerosis appear in people aged 20 to 30 years. It can also be first diagnosed in older people and children, but this is much less common. The patient may experience weakness in the arms and / or legs, worse vision, and coordination may be impaired.
The main threat of the disease is that without treatment, multiple sclerosis will progress and greatly interfere with everyday life: coordination of movements may be disturbed, gait may become shaky and unsteady, difficulties appear when performing fine movements, such as writing by hand, makeup or manicure, needlework, the clarity of vision and focusing on objects in one or both eyes decreases, it becomes more difficult to follow movements. In the future, these violations can become so pronounced that a person will not be able to do without outside help.
If multiple sclerosis is suspected, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible, because the sooner the disease is diagnosed and specific treatment is selected, the symptoms will be less pronounced.
Course of the disease
The course of the disease, as a rule, is undulating: periods of exacerbation, when the patient experiences some kind of disturbance, are replaced by longer periods of remission, when he feels well, is active, and socially adapted. Typically, exacerbations last up to a month and occur once or twice a year, but some patients may experience more often. In particular, stress or a viral disease can provoke it. After each exacerbation, a person may have some kind of violation, for example, vision, arm or leg mobility are not fully restored.
The disease is chronic, that is, it cannot be completely cured, but modern drugs and the correct scheme for prescribing them make it possible to keep multiple sclerosis in an inactive phase. That is, the task of treatment is to increase the periods of remission as much as possible, reduce the frequency of exacerbations, and, if possible, completely stop them. With proper therapy, patients with this disease throughout their lives do not experience severe negative manifestations, and exacerbations may be absent for several years.
Women with multiple sclerosis can have children – during pregnancy, as a rule, the disease does not manifest itself, and the expectant mother only needs more careful monitoring. The main problems for a young mother may arise immediately after childbirth, so experts recommend limiting breastfeeding to two to three months and immediately resuming treatment.
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are similar to those of other diseases, so only a doctor can make a correct diagnosis. If you have decreased vision in one eye, as if a gray or white veil appeared in front of it, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs, dizziness occurs with the rotation of objects clockwise or counterclockwise, be sure to consult a neurologist to rule out neurological diseases, and including multiple sclerosis. It is important to know that as a result of an illness, a person becomes somewhat euphoric, less critical of his condition and may not attach importance to changes in gait or vision, and his relatives notice the first manifestations of multiple sclerosis. If you notice similar symptoms in a loved one at a young age, you should refer him to a neurologist for a consultation, even if he is not bothered by these symptoms.
Photo: Vostock Photo
Subscribe to Goodshapetips !