Getting Informed About Multiple Sclerosis

Dr. Kumkum Modwel recommends:

The immune system serves as the body’s natural defense against harmful outsiders like pathogens, such as viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms. Its job is to identify potential threats, create antibodies against future attacks and destroy the threat, if possible. Sometimes, however, something goes wrong with this complex system. Instead of protecting the body from outside threats, the immune system goes rogue. It starts to attack the body itself and damage healthy tissues.

This is essentially what happens with multiple sclerosis.

What Is MS?

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a debilitating and unpredictable autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. The central nervous system depends on its nerves to communicate back and forth with one another. In the case of MS, the protective covering of nerve fibers called the myelin is attacked. Without this protective covering, the nerves start to break down, causing permanent damage. As a result, the lines of communication between the brain and the body become impaired, affecting various aspects of a person’s functioning.

What Causes MS?

Researchers have yet to uncover the cause of MS. The only apparent thing about multiple sclerosis is that the immune system is malfunctioning, which is why it’s considered an autoimmune disorder. More research is needed to understand more about MS.

What Are the Symptoms of MS?

For some reason, MS occurs more often in women. Most people with this condition experience their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. These vary among those affected, as well as over the course of the disease. The symptoms a person experiences depend on the precise area where nerve damage occurs. Symptoms typically start out relatively mild and then progress over time.

Some symptoms of MS may include:

  • Numbness or weakness in the limbs on one side of the body
  • Partial or total vision loss in one eye; or double vision
  • Tingling or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Bladder control issues

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Living With MS

MS has no cure. Treatment is directed at enhancing recovery from attacks, slowing the progression of the disease and managing symptoms. The type of MS treatment needed depends on the severity of disease and the areas of functioning affected.

Many people with MS are prescribed corticosteroid medications that help limit inflammation that damages the nerves. Another treatment option is plasmapheresis, in which your plasma is separated from other blood particles and mixed with a special solution. Then, this solution is put back into your body. Other pharmacological drugs are used to slow the progression of the disease, including Ocrevus and beta interferons.

In addition to medication, people with MS may require physical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitation strategies to strengthen their muscles, improve coordination and help them perform daily activities.

If you spot any of the signs and symptoms of MS, call us at (203) 270-1077 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kumkum Modwel.