Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition, specifically an inflammatory process that results to the destruction of the sheath of the neurological cells of the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. This insulating cover which surrounds the nerve cells helps in conducting the impulses needed for the body to respond. This gives rise to several manifestations of the disease including slowing down human responses.
The sheath that is destroyed by the body’s immune system will have dense, scarred formations called sclerosis. These lesions can occur at multiple sites of the Central Nervous System, hence the name Multiple Sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis is also known by other names such as Disseminated Sclerosis and Enchephalomyelitis Disseminata.
There are four types of Multiple Sclerosis, which are classified according to the occurrence of the condition.
1. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). Individuals with this type experience remission of the conditions but relapses or flare-ups when additional symptoms is about to show.
2. Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS). Persons who were diagnosed with this type will experience gradual progress of the condition without the relapses or remissions.
3. Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS). Persons who have this kind of MS will observe that the symptoms of the condition get worse. They may or may not be able to experience the cycle of relapses and remissions.
4. Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. Individuals who have this condition will report that there is steady progress of the condition with acute relapses, and unfortunately without the remission.
Signs and Symptoms
These are most of the presenting signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
1. Problems in Mobility and Balance. The individual may experience frequent loss of mobility in the arms, legs and muscle spasms leading to inability to walk. They might also have difficulty in doing fine motor movements such as using dining utensils and writing. They may also report unusual sensations and numbness in the several parts of the body. As the MS progresses, so does the fatigue which is usually experienced late in the afternoon.
2. Problems with Vision. The person will tend to have uncontrollable rapid eye movement (REM) and other forms of discomforts. They may report double vision. There are times that total loss of the vision in one eye will occur.
3. Problems with Nutrition and Elimination. People who suffer from multiple sclerosis have a difficult time in chewing and swallowing their food. As mentioned above, they will also have difficulty in dining activities. Thus, nutrition may be compromised. Furthermore, these individuals may experience involuntary passage of urine and stool. They may complain of the need to pass urine more frequently than the average human.
4. Problems with Cognitive Ability. People with MS tend to have difficulty in reasoning and problem-solving. Aside from impaired judgment, they also have narrowed attention span and observable memory loss. They might also report feelings of sadness or depression.
The main goal of the management of Multiple Sclerosis is to maintain the quality of life of the diagnosed individuals. These are some of the drugs that can be helpful in attaining this objective.
1. Medicines that slows down the progress of the condition such as Beta Interferons, Teriflunomide and Natalizumab
2. Medicines that diminish the severity of the relapses such as corticosteroid drugs
3. Medicines that manage symptoms like muscle spasm, fatigue and problems with mood.
There are also activities that are found to be helpful among individuals who have the condition:
1. Physical and Occupational Therapies
2. Support Groups
3. Safety and assistive devices such as walkers, wall bars and wheelchairs
4. Individualized Nutritional Plan
5. Stress Relieving Activities
Famous Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis
It may be quite comforting that there are famous individuals who have battled or are battling Multiple Sclerosis. They are celebrities from the different fields such as comedians like Richard Pryor and Jonathan Kantz, politicians like Paul Wellstone, musicians like Clive Burr and Jack Osborne, and several others.