Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord, and nerves throughout the body of the affected individual. The immune system attacks the cells in the myelin sheath, which covers most nerve endings in the body. With damaged myelin sheath, the signals to the brain and the response of your brain become significantly slower, which affects your everyday life.
This degenerative disorder affects over a million people each year and is characterized by an inadequate nervous system response to a stimulus. The most affected part of the body is the eyes, and the patient quickly feels their vision blurring at a rapid pace due to the damaged optical nerve fibers.
Other than that, as the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers gets damaged, it forms scar tissue to heal the damage. The scar tissue further hinders the signal transmission to and from the nerve endings, thereby slowing a person’s response to a stimulus.
The symptoms vary significantly, with each case showing various degrees of severity in the signs of nerve damage.
The earliest symptom is an unexplained rapid decline in the eyesight of the patient. The damage to the myelin sheath of the optic nerve causes inflammation in the nerve fiber, which, coupled with the damaged sheath, causes a lowered eyesight and blurred vision. You might even see dark spots, and if remaining untreated, it can escalate into blindness.
Another symptom of the disease is a tingling sensation in hands, feet, and face. This might lead to unexplained numbness and pain in the affected area, which worsens with time.
Fatigue, dizziness, muscle spasms, bladder issues, cognitive deficiency, breathing difficulty, and muscle control are some of the other symptoms that suggest the progression of the disease.
Multiple Sclerosis is usually not easily diagnosed, so your physician might try to rule out other conditions that cause these symptoms.
Usually, an MRI or a CT scan shows whether your nerves have their myelin sheath intact or have they been damaged. If any signs of demyelination are detected, there is a chance that you have this disease.
Lumbar puncture is a technique of taking a sample of your cerebrospinal fluid from the lumbar vertebrae to check for any IgG antibodies in there. If the cerebrospinal fluid has high levels of antibodies or blood cell infiltrates, MS is suggested.
There is no cure for this disorder. The treatment is done symptomatically, with the main focus is to treat the symptoms.
Most of the symptoms arise due to inflammation, so anti-inflammatory medicines like corticosteroids, have been helpful. Also, therapeutic plasma exchange has been found to relieve the patients where the plasma of patients is filtered through an apheresis machine.
Physical therapy and exercise have been found to be effective against muscle pain and fatigue.