Despite a great progress in science and medicine, there is still high amount of poorly-understood conditions and unknown mutations, which can lead to serious consequences.
Multiple sclerosis is one of these cases.
In this disorder, immune system starts to mistakenly attack body’s own central nervous system. It damages myelin – fatty sheath that normally surrounds nerves, protecting them, and provides conduction of electrical impulses from and to the spinal cord and brain.
Scar tissue is left in the damaged area that gives the disorder its name “sclerosis”.
Messages can't travel through the scar, so information can't be sent properly.
As a result, people with multiple sclerosis may experience numbness in the limbs, vision troubles, tremor, fatigue, pain and tingling all over the body.
Disease may also impair delivering nerve signals to internal organs, causing urinary incontinence, constipation, sexual dysfunction.
Nobody knows exactly, why does MS affects one person and not another. However certain risk factors were found during investigations.
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For example scientists say that this disorder usually manifests between 15 and 40 years old. And women are twice more likely than men to get it.
Even though multiple sclerosis isn’t a hereditary condition, having ill parent or sibling increases your risks significantly.
Climate and race were found to play a role too. Thus, white people who live in the areas with temperate climates (Canada, New Zealand, northern part of US, Europe) have higher chances to experience MS.
Numerous studies looked for the link between infection and MS development. Although results are not exact, it’s possible that Epstein-Barr virus, human herpesvirus-6 and measles may trigger autoimmune processes.
In vast majority of cases, the disease comes in relapses, when periods of new and increasing symptoms are followed by remission (calm periods, when person feels normal).
Occasionally multiple sclerosis may worsen gradually, without remissions.
The course of disease is unpredictable. Symptoms, their progression and duration of relapses vary widely between MS sufferers.
Unfortunately, nowadays we don’t have ability to help people get rid of MS completely.
Medical professionals use disease-modifying therapy, including beta interferons, ocrelizumab, mitoxantrone etc., to improve relapse-remitting form. For progressive form, the only FDA-approved effective medicine is ocrelizumab.
During the attacks, corticosteroids and plasmapheresis (exchanging liquid part of the blood) are used to ease the symptoms, reduce inflammation and speed up recovery.
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