This article first appeared in June 2018 and was updated September 2023
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects the body’s central nervous system including the brain and the spinal cord. It is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders around the world, typically acquired by young adults. To date, there are over 400,000 cases of MS across the United States, with 200 new cases added weekly, and about 2.5 million cases across the world. Our neurologist in Leesburg tackles the essential things you need to know about the disorder and how he can help you manage your situation.
Multiple Sclerosis: An Auto-Immune Disease
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis are still unidentified, however according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, MS may occur due to the following circumstances:
- autoimmune disorders where the body’s immune system attacks and damages its own tissues
- infections from viruses, bacteria and other agents
- environmental exposures to substances such as pesticides or industrial waste, poor living conditions, etc.
- genetic or familial hereditary influences
Whatever the cause, Multiple Sclerosis results in the deterioration of the myelin sheath — the protective coating of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord. With a damaged myelin sheath, the nerves transmitting the message from the body to the brain might be blocked.
Common symptoms of MS include:
- partial or complete loss of vision
- numbness or tingling pain in one or more limbs (typically affects one side of the body at a time)
- lack of coordination and balance
- slurred speech
There are four types of MS:
- Relapsing-remitting MS has symptoms that occur in a temporary period and repeat or worsen over time.
- Secondary-progressive MS has symptoms that exacerbate steadily through time.
- Primary-progressive MS has slowly worsening symptoms, without relapses.
- Progressive-relapsing MS is characterized with continuously worsening signs that get even worse during relapses.
Unfortunately, the cure for Multiple Sclerosis is yet to be found. However, various medications and treatments are already available to alleviate symptoms and slow down progression of the disease. If you have experienced some of the symptoms mentioned above, do not hesitate to visit the nearest neurology center in your area. Our in-house neurologist in Leesburg is happy to assist you in every stage of your journey.
Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis
Some of the tools and tests used to diagnose MS include:
- Blood tests to rule out other illnesses having symptoms similar to MS
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging or MRI to see potential lesions on your brain and spinal cord
- Lumbar puncture, wherein a sample of fluid is taken from your spine for laboratory testing
- Evoked potential testing to measure the speed of your nerve impulses
Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
If the diagnostic procedures show that you have MS, our Leesburg neurology specialist is equipped to guide you in the treatment. There are various medications helpful in recovering from attacks and slowing the progression of MS.
- For MS attacks, oral and intravenous corticosteroids are commonly prescribed to reduce the inflammation of nerves.
- To manage the progression of the disease, various oral, injectable, and infusible medicines are available. However, each drug depends on the type of MS you have, which is why consultation with a neurologist is a must before taking these meds.
- There are also cases when the symptoms are treated separately. For instance, if you are experiencing weak and numb limbs, physical therapy may be advised. Muscle relaxants are sometimes prescribed for stiff muscles.
Please note that there is no single treatment for MS. This is why our Leesburg neurology center offers procedures that are tailored for every patient.
Lifestyle – Living with Multiple Sclerosis
Once diagnosed, you have to adjust your lifestyle. Be sure to take care of yourself and live an active and healthy life. You may also find people whom you can trust, like family, friends, or a support group, so that you can freely express to them how you feel. It is also essential to be in contact with a neurologist.
Having multiple sclerosis can be a challenging experience. Thankfully, there are available treatments to help you. If you think you need to consult about the disorder or you want to know further about multiple sclerosis, do not hesitate to visit our neurology centers in Leesburg, Virginia. Dr. Dulai is here to assist you.