Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease, probably autoimmune, in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that covers neurons, compromising nervous system function.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease, probably autoimmune. For genetic or environmental reasons, in multiple sclerosis, the immune system begins to assault the myelin sheath (covering all axons) that covers neurons and this compromises the function of the nervous system. The most important feature of multiple sclerosis is the unpredictability of outbreaks.
In general, the disease affects young people, between 20 and 30 years old, and causes the motor and sensory difficulties.
The causes of the disease are not yet known. However, it is known that evolution differs from one person to another and is more common in women and white-skinned people living in temperate zones.
The diagnosis is basically clinical, complemented by imaging exams, for example, magnetic resonance imaging.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
The early stage of multiple sclerosis is quite subtle. Symptoms are transient, may occur at any time and last approximately one week.
Such characteristics make the patient unimportant to the first manifestations of the relapsing-remitting disease, that is, the symptoms come and go regardless of treatment.
The person may spend two or three years with mild sensory symptoms, slightly blurred vision or slight changes in urine control without regard to these signs because after a few days they disappear. With the evolution of the picture, sensory, motor and cerebellar symptoms of greater magnitude, represented by weakness, numbness or tingling in the legs or one side of the body, diplopia (double vision) or prolonged visual loss, imbalance, tremor, and uncontrolled sphincters appear.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment has two main objectives to shorten the acute phase and try to increase the interval between one outbreak and another. In the first case, corticosteroids are useful drugs to reduce the intensity of outbreaks. In the second, immunosuppressants and immunomodulators help to space out recurrence episodes and the negative impact they have on the lives of multiple sclerosis patients, as it is almost impossible to eliminate them with current treatments.
- Although it does not change the course of the disease, it is important to keep up the exercise, as they can strengthen bones, improve mood, help with weight control and against symptoms such as fatigue;
- When the movements are impaired, physical therapy helps to reformulate the motor act, emphasizing the contraction of the still preserved muscles;
- Physical therapy associated with certain drugs also helps to re-educate the control of sphincters;
- In acute attacks of the disease, it is advisable to remain at rest.