Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which your own immune system attacks the covering or sheath on your nerves. This will destroy the sheath, which limits the nerves’ and brain’s ability to communicate. The disease has no cure, but can be managed with certain medications and practices, such as exercise, eating right and resting.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease in which a person’s immune system attacks the protective covering on nerve fibers, called myelin. Injury to the nerves causes the body and brain to have difficulty communicating. The body reacts with fatigue, numbness, weakness, dizziness, vision problems, bladder and bowel problems and depression, but often symptoms vary from person to person.
There is no cure for MS, and scientists do not know why some people get it and some people don’t. Many believe it is related to an environmental factor that some people are more sensitive to. There are treatments that can assist in recovering from attacks of symptoms, and strategies to modify or slow the course of the disease.
MS is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50 by ruling out other possibilities. In addition, women are more often diagnosed than men. To be diagnosed with MS, your doctor must find evidence of at least two areas of damage in the central nervous system, occurring at different times. There are four different disease courses that range from mild to moderate to severe.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable disease. A person with the disease may experience symptoms for some period of time, followed by a remission. The remission can last for weeks, months or even years. Attacks can range from mild to severe. Many of the symptoms are accompanied by pain. Once the disease is diagnosed, the symptoms can be managed with corticosteroids and other medications. It is recommended that MS sufferers have physical therapy to strengthen muscles and improve mobility.
Sufferers of MS may not need emergency care over the course of their disease. If a new symptom arises, the person should consult their physician. The need for a medical alert system may not be necessary, but could provide peace of mind that help is just a push of a button away.
In addition to medication, signs and symptoms of MS can be relieved by making a few lifestyle changes:
Multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be mitigated by taking certain medications to reduce swelling of the nerve covering, and medication for pain. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe drugs that slow the immune system from attacking the myelin. Flare-ups of the disease may be prevented with medications, but these drugs may cause problems with everyday life. If the flare-ups go away on their own, it might be wise to stop the medications (with your doctor’s go-ahead, of course).
If necessary, flare-ups can also be treated with intravenous steroids. The drugs will help to prevent further damage to the myelin, and slow the advance of the disease. Prescribed drugs should always be taken as instructed by your doctor. If you are having trouble with any of your medications, consult your doctor ASAP.
People with multiple sclerosis may find that medical alerts are not necessary early on in their disease progression. However, it would provide peace of mind if periodic flare-ups are severe. Later in the disease progression, having medical alerts might prove beneficial, since the person may be wheelchair-bound or limited in their ability to get around.
In any case, medical alerts should be considered when dealing with a disease such as MS, as it is unpredictable and may strike with severe symptoms.