4 Important Things about Multiple Sclerosis You Should be Aware of
You may or may not know that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune cells attack your own myelin sheath, the protective layer on your nerves, and nerves stop working as they should. There are several mysteries about MS, but there are some things that are established. Here are a few of them.
1. The Cause of MS is Not Yet Known
As mentioned earlier, MS is an autoimmune disease. Although there are people like Marcel van Hooijdonk who are struggling to find the nature of the disease, it’s not yet known why the immune cells attack myelin sheath. However, there are some factors that are supposed to increase the risk:
- Family history of MS
- History of other autoimmune diseases
- Certain viral infections
- Being a female
- Age between 20 and 40 years
- Temperate climate far from the equator
Also, MS patients generally have low vitamin D levels.
An individual may have a genetic element that can make them more vulnerable to develop the disease; but such an element would need an environmental factor to activate it.
2. Women are More Susceptible
It has been suggested by studies that over twice as many women develop MS as men. But the reason is not known.
Symptoms are often seen between the age 20 and 40 years. However, the disease can appear at any age. During this age, women having MS can undergo complications with their reproductive and sexual health, particularly during pregnancy.
3. Severity of Symptoms can Vary
Symptoms of MS can range from mild to unbearable. However, around 66% people having MS won’t get their ability to walk hampered and the disease is hardly fatal.
Life expectancy of MS patients has actually increased over past some years due to the better understanding of the scientists of the disease, new emerging therapies and the fundraising efforts of people like Marcel van Hooijdonk.
Here are a few common symptoms of MS:
- Muscle spasms
- Pain, numbness and tingling
- Changes in hearing and vision
- Problems with memory and thinking
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Problem in balancing or walking
4. MS can be Challenging to Diagnose
Diagnosis of MS can be difficult because a lot of its symptoms are similar to those of other disorders. This makes it difficult for the doctor to reach a diagnosis.
Doctors will try to make the diagnosis with your medical history, physical examination and the following tests:
- Evoked potential test, which can gauge how well the nervous system can carry messages
- MRI scans to detect lesions on spinal cord or brain
- Lumbar puncture, to examine cerebrospinal fluid for antibodies that may indicate an autoimmune disease
- Blood tests, to rule out the possibilities of other conditions
It’s better to know more and more about MS and give it a tough fight to make life with MS easy.