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The diagnosis causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease, and it affects people in different ways. For some, it starts with a subtle sensation, and months or years could pass without noticing progression. For others, symptoms worsen rapidly, within weeks or months.

Causes and risk factors The exact cause of MS is unknown, but it is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. This means that the immune system attacks the myelin as if it were an undesirable foreign body, just as it might attack a virus or bacteria.

A diagnosis is more likely between the ages of 20 and 50 years Sex: More women develop MS than men Ethnicity: It is more common among people of European descent Genetic factors: Susceptibility can be passed down in the genes Rates of MS are higher in people who live further away from the equator, suggesting that exposure to sunlight may impact MS risk.

Other possible factors that have been linked to MS, but are not confirmed by research, include: Exposure to a toxic substance: This could be a heavy metal or solvent.

Current Strategies in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Viruses, such as Epstein-Barr, or mononucleosis, and varicella zoster, may be triggers. In 2013, a study suggested that too much salt in the diet may trigger an autoimmune reaction. Previous theories have included exposure to canine distemper, physical trauma, or aspartame, an artificial sweetener, but there is no evidence to support these.

It is unlikely there is a single trigger for MS, but it is probably triggered by multiple factors. Diagnosis The doctor will carry out a physical examination, ask about symptoms, and consider the patient's medical history. No single test can confirm a diagnosis, so several strategies are needed when deciding whether a patient meets the criteria for a diagnosis. There will be a neurologic exam, imaging scans, a test to measure the electrical activity of the brain, a spinal fluid analysis, and possibly other tests.

These can help rule out other possible causes of the symptoms. Treatment There is no cure for MS, so treatment focuses on suppressing the autoimmune response and managing symptoms.

What is MS?

Medications Several disease-modifying drugs are approved for the relapsing forms of MS. These are the most commonly prescribed drugs for MS. They reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system. They mostly treat an acute flare-up of symptoms in certain types of MS. Interferon Beta 1a or 1b: These may slow down the progression of symptoms, but they must be used with care, as they can cause liver damage. One study of data for 868 patients concluded that Interferon Beta was not helpful in preventing disability in the long term.

This aims to stop the immune system from attacking myelin. It is injected once a day. Flushing and shortness of breath may occur after receiving the injection. This is used for patients who either cannot tolerate other treatments or have not benefitted from them. It increases the risk of developing multifocal leukoencephalopathy, a fatal brain infection. This immunosuppressant is normally used only in the later stages. It can damage the heart, but if symptoms are worsening rapidly, it can help slow down the progression of disability.

Studies have suggested that this may help relieve pain, muscles stiffness, and insomnia. This is a once-daily tablet for adults with relapsing forms of MS. Rehabilitation Rehabilitation aims to help patients improve or maintain their ability to perform effectively at home and at work. This aims to provide people with the skills to maintain and restore maximum movement and functional ability.

The therapeutic use of work, self-care, and play activities to increase development and prevent disability. Speech and swallowing therapy: A speech and language therapist will carry out special training. This helps people manage specific problems in thinking and perception.

This helps people with disabilities make career plans, learn job skills, get and keep a job. Plasma exchange Plasmapheresis involves withdrawing blood from the patient, removing the plasma, and replacing it with new plasma. The blood is then transfused back into the patient. This process removes the antibodies in the blood that are attacking parts of the patient's body, but whether it can help patients with MS is unclear.

Studies have produced mixed results. Vitamin D and Omega-3 supplements Researchers have found a link between vitamin D deficiency and MS, but they are still investigating whether vitamin D supplements might help in treatment. It has been suggested that omega-3 fatty acid supplements may help patients with MS, the diagnosis causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis scientists in Norway concluded that they do not.

Various supplements can be purchased online, including vitamin D and Omega-3 supplements. Patients should not use supplements without first consulting their doctor. Outlook The progression of MS is different for each person, so it is hard to predict what will happen. However, the lifespan of a person with MS is usually about the same as for a person without the condition.

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