Table of Contents
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a medical condition wherein the nerves of the brain and the spinal cord are affected and the person experiences difficulty with the movement of muscles, balance and vision.
The nerve fibers in our body have a protective layer of protein known as myelin around them. Myelin contributes in the transmission of electrical signals from the brain to the different parts of our body. In multiple sclerosis, the myelin present around the nerve fibers gets damaged and this effects the transmission of nerve impulses to the different parts of the body.
People suffering from MS exhibit a loss of vision, often in only one eye. The muscles tend to become stiff and this leads to uncontrolled muscle movements. An increased difficulty in balancing and coordination and a feeling of fatigue throughout the day are other common symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is inflicted by the body’s own immune system and therefore this condition is often described as an autoimmune disease.
Almost 2.1 million people suffer from MS worldwide. Multiple sclerosis is more common in females than in males and a person has the highest risk of developing the disease between teen years to the age of fifty. MS is more common in white people than Asians and black people.
There are several types of MS. The major categories of multiple sclerosis vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the treatment. The major categories of multiple sclerosis include primary progressive multiple sclerosis, relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, and progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis.
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
There is no specific cure for MS, but there are numerous treatments that can help in alleviating the symptoms of the disease. The symptoms of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis can be treated by using numerous disease modifying drugs which can slow the normal progression of the symptoms and also reduce the chances of relapse of these symptoms.
Common treatments include the use of steroid injections and physiotherapy. Some of the commonly prescribed drugs used for alleviating the symptoms of MS include teriflumonide, glatiramer acetate, interferon beta 1a and b, fingolimod, and mitoxantrone. Most of these drugs act by suppressing or altering the actions of the immune system of the body. None of these drugs cure MS but they can only contribute towards reducing the severity and frequency of the symptoms of the disease.