Recognize Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). It affects more women than men. The disorder is diagnosed most frequently between 20 and 40 years of age, but may occur at any age. MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this cover of the nerves are damaged, the nerve impulses decrease or stop.

The nerve damage is caused by inflammation, which occurs when the body’s own immune cells attack the nervous system. This can occur through any area of the brain, optic nerve or the spinal cord. It is not known exactly what cause MS. The most common thought is that the it caused by a virus, or a genetic defect, or both. Environmental factors also play a role in this disease. You are slightly more prone to contracting this disease if you have a family history of MS or lives in a part of the world where the disease is most common.

Symptoms vary because the location and magnitude of each attack can be different. The episodes can last days, weeks or months. The attacks are followed by periods of reduction or absence of symptoms (remissions). Fever, hot baths, exposure to the Sun and stress can trigger or worsen attacks.

It is common that the disease return (relapse). However, you can continue getting worse without periods of remission.

The nerves anywhere in the brain or spinal cord may be damaged. As a result, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis can appear in many parts of the body.

Muscle symptoms:

Loss of balance
Muscle spasms
Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
Problems moving arms and legs
Walking problems
Coordination problems and to make small movements
Tremor in one or both arms or legs
Weakness in one or both arms or legs

Bladder and intestinal symptoms:

Constipation and escape of feces
Difficulty when starting to urinate
Frequent need to urinate
Intense urge to urinate
Urine leakage (incontinence)

Eye symptoms:

Double vision
Trouble vision eyes
Rapid eye movements and uncontrollable
Loss of vision (usually affects one eye at a time)

Numbness, tingling, or pain:

Facial pain
Painful muscle spasms sensation of itching
Tingling or burning in the arms and legs

Other brain and neurological symptoms:

Decrease in the period of care, the ability to discern and loss of memory
Difficulty to reason and solve problems
Depression or feelings of sadness
Dizziness or loss of balance

Sexual symptoms:

Erection problems
problems with vaginal lubrication

Speech and swallowing symptoms:

Language poorly articulated or difficult to understand
Problems chewing and swallowing
Fatigue is a common and troublesome symptom as MS progresses and is often worse at the end of the afternoon.

Cure for multiple sclerosis is not known so far, but there are treatments that can slow the progression of the disease. The goal of treatment is controlling the symptoms and help maintain a quality of normal life.

Medication is often taken for a long time and may include:

Drugs to slow the disease.
Steroids to decrease the severity of the attacks.
Medications to control symptoms such as muscle spasms, urinary problems, fatigue or mood problems.

Living with multiple sclerosis can be a challenge. The stress caused by the disease can be relieved by joining a support group for multiple sclerosis. Sharing with other people who have experiences and problems in common can help you not to feel alone.

World Multiple Sclerosis day we want to share this information with you to raise awareness and to campaign with and for all those affected by MS.