Multiple sclerosis is a health condition that impacts the functioning of the central nervous system. This system consists of numerous nerves that perform the function of informational system in the body, linking all the parts and organs with the brain. Multiple sclerosis affects the myelin sheath – the substance surrounding and protecting the nerves – which leads to partial or complete blockage of signal transmission in the affected area.
Women are known to be more susceptible to multiple sclerosis then men and the most common age for the development of this condition is between 20 and 40 years old, however it can happen to anyone at any age. The name sclerosis comes from the fact that this condition lids to formation of scars (scleroses) on the sensitive substance surrounding the nerves. And due to the fact that this condition affects nervous tissue in the brain, the spinal chord and throughout the body the symptoms are varied and can manifest in different forms. It usually depends on the actual region affected by the condition. In general the symptoms are described as the inability to control a certain part of the body, involuntary movement of limbs, inability to concentrate, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, lack of balance and coordination, abnormal sensations, muscle dysfunctions, depression, inability to move, muscular and neurological pain, etc. If the condition is left untreated, inflammation takes place and ultimately destroys myelin by making the body’s own immune cells impact the affected nervous tissue.
The main problem with multiple sclerosis is that it’s difficult to diagnose at earlier stages, when it’s easier to treat the condition. Drugs can lower the intensity of attacks and slow down the development of the condition, but it’s generally impossible to reverse it effects completely. Any treatment of multiple sclerosis is aimed at decreasing the intensity of symptoms and improving the quality of life in the patient. However, some patients chose to be left untreated since certain medications can deliver undesired side effects and make the overall condition worse.
The most commonly prescribed treatment options are Interferon beta-1b (Betaseron) and interferon beta-1a (Avonex, Rebif), which are synthetic copies of natural proteins that are produced in the body to regulate functions of the immune system and fighting viral infections. Glatiramer is synthetic drug comprised of special amino acids that makes the immune system cells act as anti-inflammatory agents and prevents the damage to the nervous tissue. Natalizumab (Tysabri) is a medication that prevents the immune cells from entering into the brain through bloodstream thus reducing their impact on the damaged nerve cells.
Muscle relaxants such as Baclofen and Zanaflex help control the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, which are commonly described by muscle spastic conditions. Many patients report having muscle spasms, stiffening, unusual sensations, numbness and other unpleasant or painful sensations due to multiple sclerosis. Baclofen and other muscle relaxants help in decreasing the intensity of these symptoms and concentrate on the actual treatment of the condition.
If you suspect having multiple sclerosis don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. The sooner you get diagnosed and start your treatment the more effective it will be, so don’t lay it off and speak to your physicians as soon as you start feeling the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
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