Multiple sclerosis also known as MS is a disease that affects the brain. It disables the immune system and attacks the protective sheath that covers the nerve fiber. This results in weak communication between your brain and your body. There are chances of permanent damage to the nerves as well as to one’s control over movements. This article will acknowledge its symptoms, causes, and its possible treatments.
Early signs of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is capable of occurring all at once that might carry unnoticeable symptoms. Below are given the early signs or symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
- Difficulty in balancing and weakness in legs
This happens when the muscles no longer support our activities in the best way. They might not carry the command from the brain that might result in tripping while walking. This also causes difficulty in performing daily activities.
- Tingling sensations
This means numbness or tingling that affects only one side of the face or arms or legs. The sensations involved here are similar to that of the pins-and-needles feeling one gets on the foot while falling asleep. The reason behind their occurrence remains unknown.
- Partial loss in vision
One of the early signs includes impaired vision. This includes experiencing double vision or blurred vision in one eye. There might be some pain caused in the eye too.
The malfunctioning that causes the occurrence of these symptoms varies from person to person. Sometimes, these symptoms might not be the reason for multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
A wide range of multiple sclerosis symptoms can be felt while suffering from it, which differs from person to person. The seriousness of the diseases also changes from time to time. Given below are the most common symptoms one can relate to:
- Difficulty while walking
The person might feel some trouble while walking. this is a serious symptom as it can injure the person. This might be the result of:
- Weakness in muscles
- Impaired vision
- Muscle spasticity
- Difficulty to balance
- Numbing of senses in legs or feet
Almost all people suffering from multiple sclerosis go through this symptom. Excess fatigue can cause problems such as interfering with your ability to work or while doing daily activities.
- Other symptoms
- Chronic or acute pain
- Issues such as finding difficulty in reading, concentration, or memorizing.
These are few other symptoms of multiple sclerosis that are fairly common.
Causes of multiple sclerosis
When one suffers from multiple sclerosis, their protective layer of myelin that surrounds the nerve fiber gets damaged. This results in immune system attacks. Apart from the nerve damage, environmental triggers which can be viruses or toxins might also cause the immune system attack.
When the myelin is attacked by the immune system, it results in inflammation. Now, this leads to scarring of tissues or lesions. The signals between the brain and the other parts of the body are disrupted due to the inflammation and scarring of the tissues.
Multiple sclerosis causes do not come under hereditary diseases. Whereas the chances of it increase when you are surrounded by people suffering from multiple sclerosis.
It has been scientifically proven that the presence of some particular genes can increase the chances of getting multiple sclerosis.
How can multiple sclerosis be treated?
Though there is no specific cure for multiple sclerosis. But there are multiple treatment options available.
- Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs)
Disease-modifying therapies are constructed to slow down the progression of the disease and to lower its relapse rates.
The treatments include RRMS which are glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) and beta interferons. These are self-injectable disease-modifying medications such as:
There is also some oral medication for RRMS available, which are:
- Siponimod (mayzent)
- Cladribine (Marvin clad)
- Diroximel fumarate (vumerity)
- Dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)
- Fingolimod (Gilenya)
- Teriflunomide (aubagio)
There are also intravenous infusion treatments available for RRMS:
- Ocrelizumab (ocrevus)
- Natalizumab (Tysabri)
- Alemtuzumab (entrada)
- Mitoxantrone (novantrone)
The FDA, food and drug administration approved the very first DMT for people with PPMS. The drug is called ocrelizumab which is an infusion drug and can also be used for treating RRMS.
Along with this, another drug known as the ozanimod (zeposia) has been recently approved for treating CIS, RRMS as well as SPMS.
- Other drugs available to treat multiple sclerosis
These symptoms might not completely erase multiple sclerosis but can certainly ease the symptoms and improve the quality of life.
The doctors can prescribe you drugs such as corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone (Medrol) or Acthar gel (ACTH) which are highly effective in treating relapses. The treatments will be different for everyone depending on the specific type of symptoms involved.
The types of multiple sclerosis that affects people
- Clinically isolated syndrome
This can be shortened to CIS. A diagnosis can only be prompted when there is more than one lesion or positive oligoclonal bands (OCB) present in the spinal fluid at the time of the spinal tap.
This will result in the diagnosis of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis or RRMS.
- Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)
Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis is also known as RRMS. It involves clear relapses of disease-related activities which is followed by remissions. The symptoms involving are mild or are absent. Here, no disease progression takes place. RRMS is the most common type of multiple sclerosis.
- Primary-progressive multiple sclerosis
The progression of this type is slow yet steady. The intensity of the symptoms remains at the same level without lowering. There is no remission period hence, the patient with this condition suffers from worsening experience.
Though there are chances of mild improvements and occasional plateau in symptom progression.
- Secondary-progressive MS
This type is a mixture of all types. It does involve a period of relapsing-remitting activity as well as symptom flare-ups followed by recovery periods.
People who suffer from SPMS experience a period of fluctuation which is followed by a steady worsening condition.
The treatment varies from person to person. Not all the drugs even if approved can be provided to the patient. The treatment of multiple sclerosis differs from person to person and varies according to the stage they are at. It will be beneficial to consult a doctor before consuming any type of drug or medication.