Multiple Sclerosis – Types, Symptoms, Causes, and Risk Factors
Tuesday, May 14, 2019 Tammy Meng
What is MS:
Multiple Sclerosis is an auto immune disease and it is the body attacking the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes issues of communication between your brain and the rest of your body. This disease can cause permanent damage.
Types of MS:
Relapse Remitting MS (RRMS) this is the most common form of Multiple Sclerosis. About 85% of people are diagnosed with RRMS. People with RRMS have temporary periods called relapses, or flare-ups, when a new symptom appears.
Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS) in SPMS symptoms worsen more steadily over time, with or without the reoccurrence of a relapse and remission. Most people are first diagnosed with RRMS and then transition to SPMS
Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS) this type of MS is not very common, taking place in about only 10% of people with MS. PPMS is characterized by slowly worsening symptoms from the beginning, with no relapses or remissions.
Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS) is a rare form of MS and about 5% of the MS population will have it. PPMS is characterized by steadily worsening disease state from the beginning with acute relapses but no remission, with or without recovery.
Diagnosis/Tests: Before MS can be ruled as your official diagnosis you may need to go through various tests to rule out something else.
Blood tests: will help rule out other diseases with symptoms like MS. These tests check for specific biomarkers associated with MS.
Spinal Tap (Lumbar Puncture) is where a small sample of fluid is removed from your spinal canal for laboratory analysis. This sample can check for MS and rule out other infections and conditions similar to MS.
MRI: which can reveal areas of MS (lesions) on your brain and spinal cord. You also may receive an IV injection to highlight lesions that can help in your diagnosis.
EMG (Evoked Potential Test): which will record the electrical signals produced by your nervous system in response to stimuli.
Differ from person to person. They can range from numbness or weakness, electrical shock sensations, tremor’s, or lack of coordination.
It is not known what causes MS, but there is a lot of speculation as to what can cause this autoimmune disease.
MS is more prevalent in New York and Washington State. People that are born within these states and move before the age of 15 have a lower risk on the disease taking hold.
They are finding that when one person in a family has MS, it can lead to another person in the family getting MS. It is starting to become more common with men and younger children. However, at this point MS is still not hereditary and there is still no known cause for this disease.
Treatment options for MS include injectables, oral medications and infusions. Not all options are good for everyone. Your doctor will discuss this with you and various blood test may have to be ran. Ex: tested for tuberculosis or TB, blood work for JCV (John Cunningham Virus) and finally PML (Progressive Multifocal leukoencephalopathy) to verify which medications you may use.
The average life expectancy of a person with MS is 25 to 35 years after the official diagnosis has been made. The most common causes of death in MS patients are secondary complications resulting from immobility, chronic urinary tract infections, compromised swallowing and breathing.
End-stage of Multiple Sclerosis:
MS can progress to a severity at which individuals typically lose physical independence. It can cause a loss of mobility and other life-altering symptoms. Those severely affected by MS often require dedicated care to meet their needs. Advanced symptoms range from pain affecting the muscles, nerves and joints, spasms, tremors, sensory changes, bowel & bladder issues, mobility issues, difficulty swallowing and chewing, speech difficulties, memory and thinking, emotional issues such as depression, mood swings and anger.
Multiple Sclerosis affects people in different ways; a person may be walking fine one day and could be in a wheelchair the next.
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