1. What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a degenerativ disease in which the immune system attacks the protective covering of nerve fibres which results in communication problems between the brain and rest of the body. Severe forms of the disease can cause permanent damage to the nerves.
2. What the signs and symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis?
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis depend upon the course of the disease. These include
- Tremor, gait problems
- Weakness in one or more limbs
- Electric shock-like sensations
- Loss of vision, blurry vision
- Tingling and numbness
- Bowel/bladder problems
- Fatigue, dizziness
- Paralysis, in advanced stages
3. What can lead to multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibres. Its exact cause is unknown. Risk factors include being a female, family history of multiple sclerosis, Epstein-barr virus infection, smoking, low levels of Vitamin D and history of other autoimmune diseases.
4. How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?
Multiple sclerosis is usually diagnosed by its signs/symptoms , physical examination and exclusion of other conditions that may produce similar symptoms. Tests include lumbar puncture for detection of antibodies, blood tests for specific biomarkers, MRI scan and evoked potential tests to assess the amount of nerve damage.
5. What are the treatments for multiple sclerosis?
Treatment modalities for multiple sclerosis inlcude
- Corticosteroids like methylprednisolone
- Drugs like ocrelizumab, beta interferons, glatiramer acetate, fingolimod, dimethyl fumarate, teriflunomide, natalizumab, mitoxantrone
- Muscle relaxants
Treatment is based on slowing the progression of disease and managing symptoms of the disease.