Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves in the eyes. With MS, a person’s immune system attacks the myelin, which is the protective coating around nerve fibers and causes damage such as scar tissue. This damage disrupts the nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord, causing a variety of symptoms. The symptoms and progression of MS are different for each person and can be unpredictable. In general, the first symptoms appear between the ages of 20 and 40.
Common Symptoms of MS
- Numbness or tingling in the face and body
- Unusual sensations around the body
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Dizziness or problems with balance
- Walking difficulties
- Muscle spasms
- Emotional changes
- Cognitive changes
- Bowel and bladder problems
Unfortunately, there is no single test for multiple sclerosis so diagnosis can be quite challenging. Many of these symptoms can point to other health problems—that’s why it is important to see a doctor if you notice any of these signs. A neurologist can look at your medical history, combination of symptoms, and evaluate your mental, emotional, and physical functions, as well as rule out other conditions, to come to a possible MS diagnosis. Imaging tests, spinal taps, electrical tests, and blood tests can also be used to test the function of your brain and spinal cord.
As it stands today, MS is not a curable disease, but there are effective strategies to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. Treatment of MS is an ongoing process often involving a comprehensive approach.
If you’re diagnosed with MS, it’s likely you’ll work with a team of specialists to help create a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Treatment may involve:
- Disease-modifying medications
- Activity modification
- Managing relapses
- Addressing mental health
Contact Dr. Walter Reichert of The Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Specialists by CLICKING HERE.