General Information on Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis information – Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disease that involves an inflammatory process at the level of the central nervous system. The disease causes dysfunctions of the body’s nervous cells (neurons), due to destruction of myelin, a substance that surrounds the neurons. Myelin is vital for the proper activity of the nervous system, as it facilitates the transmission of information between neurons. When the nervous cells’ myelin-containing membrane is damaged, the innervated tissues of the entire body can be seriously affected. Due to destruction of myelin, multiple sclerosis can cause dysfunctions of the musculoskeletal, sensorial and cognitive systems. Sometimes, the disease can also affect the activity of the internal organs (kidneys, gastrointestinal tract). People who suffer from multiple sclerosis can in time develop neuropsychological conditions, such as depression, mania or dementia.

Information on multiple sclerosis incidence – Research results reveal that multiple sclerosis affects around 2 million people worldwide. Statistics also indicate that there are more than 350.000 cases of multiple sclerosis in the United States. An interesting aspect of the disease is that it tends to affect young people. Although multiple sclerosis can also be developed by the elderly, the disease has the highest incidence in people with ages between 20 and 40. Another interesting feature of multiple sclerosis is that it predominantly affects women, rarely occurring in the opposite sex.

Information on multiple sclerosis causes and factors of risk – The actual causes of multiple sclerosis aren’t clear. Medical scientists believe that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of multiple sclerosis. It is believed that multiple sclerosis occurs on the background of genetic predispositions, triggered by environmental factors. Although this fact hasn’t been confirmed, viral infections are also considered to facilitate the development of this type of neurological disease. Multiple sclerosis has a hereditary character and the genetic predispositions to this type of disease can be transmitted from one generation to another. Certain environmental factors, such as stress, lack of sleep, warm climate, are also considered to increase the risks of developing multiple sclerosis.

Information on multiple sclerosis symptomatic spectrum – Multiple sclerosis can affect virtually any level of the body, generating a wide range of symptoms. The most common physical signs of multiple sclerosis are: muscle pain, inflammation, numbness, weakness; poor body mobility; pronounced fatigue; loss of dexterity; poor balance; poorly coordinated moves; decreased vision. Common neuropsychological signs of multiple sclerosis are: lack of concentration; poor mental performance; short-term memory loss; compromised judgment. In extreme cases, multiple sclerosis can even lead to depression, mania and dementia.

Information on multiple sclerosis diagnosis – Multiple sclerosis is diagnosed upon elaborate physical and neuropsychological examinations, as well as specific medical procedures and laboratory tests. Common means of diagnosing multiple sclerosis are MRI scans and lumbar puncture, procedures which can reveal possible damage of myelin.

Information on multiple sclerosis treatment options – Multiple sclerosis medical treatments are usually individualized according to the patients’ experienced symptoms. Multiple sclerosis treatments commonly involve the use of beta interferon, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. These medications can alleviate most physical symptoms generated by multiple sclerosis, also preventing their recurrence. When the disease affects the cognitive functions of the body, commonly prescribed medications are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Central Nervous System Stimulants.

Information on multiple sclerosis therapy – Medication-free therapy for multiple sclerosis involves the physical recuperation of patients. As most symptoms of multiple sclerosis are perceived at the level of the musculoskeletal system, therapy through exercise is very effective in alleviating muscle pain, weakness and numbness.

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Trigger of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

Despite the best minds in the medical world working on it, there has as of yet been no advancement in understanding what causes the neuromuscular disease multiple sclerosis. This disease primarily seems to affect those in the 20-40 year old range and can manifest itself in a wide ranging variety of symptoms. There have however been many different theories as to what may be a trigger of multiple sclerosis symptoms. Some of these hypotheses include both environmental conditions and genetic predisposition.

What is an Environmental Trigger of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms?

MS seems to be far more prevalent in those who live farther away from the equator. This equates to exposure to far less sunshine and as such the body does not produce sufficient quantities of vitamin D. This is considered to be a major trigger of multiple sclerosis symptoms. In an industrialized society we are constantly exposed to a wide variety of toxic chemicals that are suspected to cause damage to the body’s immune system.

We live in a very stressful world and research is showing that this stress can trigger MS symptoms as can smoking. Current theories conclude that a variety of serious bacterial infections such as Epstein Barr, Chlamydophila and others may be associated with the immune response that is at the root of MS.

Is there a Genetic Trigger of MS Symptoms?

There is no proof that MS is in any way a hereditary disease, but recent scientific research is finding that there may be some link between the chances of a person being diagnosed with MS and genetics. The survey shows that in the overall population a person has less than a 0.1% chance of having the disease, but if an immediate family member is diagnosed with it the odds climb to a 1-3% chance of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

All of the studies done to date come to the same basic conclusion. This is that there is more than one trigger of multiple sclerosis symptoms and that no one gene or outside agent can be conclusively found as the root cause of the diseases. While we may not be able to pinpoint the cause, what we do know is the damage it causes. There are many studies currently under way to find ways to reverse the damage or at least slow down the progression with a variety of medication, natural therapy treatments and more recently stem cell replacement therapy.

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