Despite the advancements in treatments and healthcare, many complications of MS remain. Even when MS is diagnosed early, life expectancy is only six to seven years less than in the general population. Though a cure is not yet available, advances in medicine make it possible for people with MS to live longer and enjoy better health. While MS is rare in adults, it can have serious consequences, such as causing bone fractures and compromising sexual function.
Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Symptoms of MS include numbness, tingling, unbalance, weak legs, double vision, partial vision loss, and eye pain. Although symptoms of MS can occur at any time, early signs of MS are often nonspecific and can be misinterpreted as many other disorders of the central nervous system. Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is an important diagnostic tool. In addition to examining the brain, spinal cord, and other organs, a test of the spinal fluid is also vital for confirming the diagnosis.
For a more accurate diagnosis of MS, a doctor may request a lumbar puncture. This procedure involves drawing cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cord. If the sample contains antibodies associated with MS, then a doctor can order an evoked potential study, which measures how quickly nerves respond to stimuli. Additionally, blood tests may be conducted to rule out other diseases that can mimic the symptoms of MS.
If the symptoms are consistent and unrelated, MS may not be diagnosed early. It takes several months or even years to get a proper diagnosis. A physician will take a medical history, perform a neurological exam, and check the person’s mental, emotional, and language functions. They will also evaluate strength, coordination, balance, reflexes, and vision. MRI can also reveal a diagnosis if a person has lesions in the brain or spinal cord.
In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath covering the nerve fibers. This inflammation interferes with the signal between the brain and the rest of the body. Although most people with MS never lose their ability to walk, many will require assistance in walking, including a cane, wheelchair, or scooter. In fact, some people may have a long remission period before their symptoms return. In this case, the symptoms may not be easily noticeable until they return again and worsen.
The first step in treating MS is finding a doctor who is experienced in the disease. They will have to determine which type of MS you have and whether it is active or inactive. You will need to repeat additional tests in the future. Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, treatment can slow the disease’s progression, reduce the severity of relapses, and help relieve your symptoms. Complementary therapies, like acupuncture, are also available, but research on their effectiveness is lacking.
The most common types of multiple sclerosis
The most common type of MS is primary progressive. About 85% of people who have MS have this form, whereas 5% of people have progressive MS. The symptoms of progressive MS include increasing weakness in the lower limbs and disability over time. The relapses are sporadic and may last a few months, or they can last for years. Patients with secondary progressive MS may also experience disability. If symptoms of multiple sclerosis last for many years, treatment for this condition is necessary for long-term health.
The onset of MS may be delayed or complete, but it usually happens between 20 and 40 years. Younger and older people can also be affected by MS. In most cases, women are more likely to develop relapsing-remitting MS than men. Some studies suggest that there may be a genetic component to this condition, but an environmental trigger must also be present for the disease to occur. Smoking is one factor that increases the risk of MS, as smokers are more likely to develop lesions in the brain and have less functioning than nonsmokers.
There are some risks that increase the risk of developing MS, but they are small. One of the biggest risks is a family history of the disease. Another risk factor is gene mutations. MS can be inherited or acquired. Treatments for this disease are usually aimed at preventing the progression of symptoms. A proper diagnosis will determine if treatment is necessary. Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may include leg weakness and numbness, difficulty walking, and bowel incontinence.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but there are medications that can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. While some people experience no symptoms at all, other people experience severe symptoms. In addition, corticosteroids are often prescribed for nerve inflammation. While they may reduce MS symptoms, they can also increase the risk of serious viral infections in the brain, such as PML JC. A patient who experiences severe symptoms may be referred for mitoxantrone therapy, but this is not a cure for this disease and has many side effects.