Symptoms, risk factors and treatment of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is classified as an autoimmune disease, which is a disease where the immune system turns on itself and attacks healthy cells in the body. MS affects the brain and the spinal cord, destroying protective nerve cell covers, which can lead to impaired nerve impulses.
There is still much to be learned about MS, including why it affects some people more severely than others. Many people can live near-normal lives with MS, encountering only brief episodes where the nerve damage is triggered, while others with the condition suffer more triggers and debilitate very quickly.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are varied because the disease can affect people in different areas and to different degrees, with no apparent rhyme or reason. Common areas where symptoms present include:
- The muscles (symptoms like loss of balance, tremor, numbness, weakness and more)
- The eyes (double vision, uncontrollable rapid eye movements, vision loss and more)
- Bowel and bladder (constipation, strong urge to urinate, difficulty urinating, stool and urine leakage and more)
- Sexual functions (erectile dysfunction and vaginal lubrication problems)
- Speech (slurred speech)
There are many other symptoms, including numbness, facial pain, fatigue and more. Be sure to report any unusual physical or behavioral symptoms to your doctor.
Multiple Sclerosis Risk Factors
Not much is known about the risk factors for MS, though it is known that the disease occurs more often in women than in men. It is also most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40, but has also been diagnosed in people of any age.
It is believed that the triggers for MS may be associated with genetic defects or viruses, but this has not yet been conclusively proven. Fever, sun exposure, hot baths and stress are known to worsen MS attacks.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Multiple sclerosis treatment is more about slowing down the progression of the disease than treating it. Various medications, such as Interferons, steroids and others have been proven to help control symptoms and improve quality of life for MS sufferers.
Various therapies and assistive devices are helpful in managing the symptoms of MS, along with exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and avoidance of stress.
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