5 Facts about multiple sclerosis
1.Multiple sclerosis is an immunological disease affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) in which the immune system attacks myelin sheath which covers the nerve fibers. This will lead to permanent damages in the nervous system, which in turn cause a defect in the mechanism of communication between the brain and the rest of body organs.
2. The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, but certain medical studies showed that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. Also, it's noticed that people with positive family history are at a greater risk to develop the disease.
3. The classic clinical picture of multiple sclerosis develops gradually and includes the following signs:
• Tingling and numbness in the upper and lower extremities, which usually ends with paralysis of the lower limb muscles.
• Blurred vision, which is followed later with gradual deterioration of vision up to partial or complete loss of vision.
• Recurrent attacks of generalized muscle ache.
• Slurred speech.
• Chronic fatigue.
• Marked dysfunction in the bowel and urinary bladder.
• Erectile dysfunction for men.
4. There is no specific diagnostic test for multiple sclerosis, so diagnosis depends initially on exclusion of the other medical problems that have similar clinical picture. Also, to confirm diagnosis, the following tests are done:
• Blood tests to check for biomarkers of multiple sclerosis.
• Lumbar puncture to get CSF sample to check for any abnormalities in the antibodies associated with multiple sclerosis.
• Examination of brain and spinal cord with MRI.
5. There no cure for multiple sclerosis, so management plan aims mainly to slow down the progression of the disease as well as inhibition of possible complications. Anyway, conservative treatment of multiple sclerosis consists of; corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, muscle relaxants, pain killers, physiotherapy and functional therapy.