Multiple sclerosis(MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) caused by destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibers or neurons. When myelin sheath is destroyed, nerve signals between your brain and the rest of the body slow down or stop. As a result, people with MS have visual disturbances, muscle weakness in the extremities, difficulty with balance and coordination, and difficulty walking. As the disease progresses other symptoms occur such as sensations of numbness, prickling, or pins and needles, pain, tremors, dizziness, speech difficulty, hearing loss, and problems with thinking, learning and planning may also occur.
Multiple sclerosis may be an autoimmune disease, meaning a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys its own tissues. Multiple sclerosis (MS) usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40 and women are more likely to be affected than men.
In order to diagnose MS, the physician will ask your detailed medical history and perform a complete physical and neurological examination. A MRI scan of your brain and spinal cord may be done to reveal lesions in the central nervous system. An evoked potentials test may be done to determine whether electric impulse travels through nerves normally or slower. Your doctor may also perform a cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord) examination to look for the presence of abnormal antibodies or cells that indicate the presence of MS.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, however treatment such as medications and therapies may help relieve the symptoms and relapses and slow the progression of MS. In some cases steroids may be recommended to decrease the duration and severity of attacks. Muscle relaxants are prescribed to reduce muscle spasms.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and assistive devices such as foot braces, canes, and walkers may also be helpful for people with MS to improve their quality of life.