Of all the neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis is the one that has undergone a dramatic revolution in recent years. As part of the alleviation of the initial emotional confrontation with the discovery of the disease, we will break up a number of common myths that may raise fear among new patients.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, in which inflammatory cells attack the casing of nerve cells. The result is the accumulation of lesions at various sites of the central nervous system, resulting in an injury to the transmission of the electric signal efficiently.
How is it manifested?
In terms of clinical expression, multiple sclerosis randomly affects various areas of the central nervous system such as the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms are varied and usually include blurring of vision, double vision, rotational dizziness, difficulty in speech or swallowing, weakness of the limbs or facial muscles as well as more general symptoms such as fatigue, decreased concentration and learning ability, and mood disorders.
Usually, the disease is manifested in the form of seizures. In between relapses, there are remissions. Some of the seizures leave a residual neurological deficiency which is an irreversible neurological damage such as a decrease in visual acuity, sensory disturbances, and some of them pass without trace.
In some cases, the disease may change over the years and becomes a progressive disease. This means, there is gradual progression of disability regardless of seizures. In a small percentage of patients, the disease begins without seizures and is immediately manifested in the gradual progression of disability.
A study published in the journal The New England Journal of Medicine in 2018 shows that multiple sclerosis is a more common disease among women, with the ratio of women to men being 1: 3. The disease usually erupts in young people between the ages of 20-40.
What are the treatment methods?
In recent years, these efforts have yielded many results. Now, there is an increasing number of drugs given by injections, intravenous infusions or pills that may reduce the frequency of seizures and delay the progress of the disease, sometimes even stop completely expressed.
In recent years, there has been an acceleration in the opening of drugs against multiple sclerosis, with a growth in the number of products approved for the treatment of the disease and which have been introduced into the health basket.
Apart from the treatment which aims to change the course of the disease, it is now customary to treat the attacks themselves. The standard treatment in this case is intravenous injection of steroids, according to the neurological assessment. This treatment shortens and alleviates symptoms associated with an attack.
In addition, it is important to treat the symptoms of the disease in order to facilitate patients and improve their quality of life including medications to improve muscle stiffness, pain, urinary incontinence, fatigue, mood swings and sexual dysfunction as well as rehabilitation program that includes physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychological counseling.
Common myths about multiple sclerosis.
Among all the neurological diseases, multiple sclerosis is the disease that has been undergoing the most dramatic revolution in recent years and changing its face in front of our eyes. When the patient is informed today of his/her diagnosis and illness, it is possible to offer many and effective tools to cope with and to try to adapt them to the shape and severity of the disease and to ensure the most appropriate and comfortable treatment, taking into consideration his or her lifestyle.
As part of the alleviation of the initial emotional coping with the discovery of the disease, a number of common myths are raised that raise the fear of new diagnoses:
1. Using wheelchair.
Many patients fear that their health will deteriorate into a long-term care situation and will require a wheelchair. In the past, about half of MS patients did get wheelchair at different stages of the disease. Today, most of them live side by side with the disease, which allows them to have children, study, work, travel, and play sports.
2. Inability to give birth.
In the past, MS patients were advised not to become pregnant but this recommendation is no longer valid. There are treatments that allow a long period of silence from seizures, in order to become pregnant without taking medication during the course of the treatment. Today, women who cope with the disease definitely bring children into the world and even breastfeed. The procedure is done in cooperation with the attending physician, in order to enable a safe pregnancy.
3. Engagement in sports.
On the contrary, it is recommended that anyone who lives with multiple sclerosis exercise, depending on their ability and limitations. Sport has the best effect on the course of the disease. First, by suppressing the inflammation that affects the nervous system tissue, thus helping to prevent the outbreak of the disease. Second, by helping to rehabilitate the injury after the seizures.
4. Not able to travel for long periods of time.
Like any chronic illness, in order to maintain a good quality of life, MS patients must persist in treatment. The existing treatments are given by infusion or tablet. In the past, drug treatments have limited the lives of people with MS with treatments that require hospitalization for infusion, or treatments that require a tablet twice a day after eating.
However, the new treatments allow the drug to be taken at significantly longer intervals than in the past. In some cases, it is possible to take a few tablets for 4 years, and even provides two years of quiet without treatment. Today, many MS patients can do anything – work, learn, raise a family, and travel the world for a long time.
5. Children with MS are also at risk.
Multiple sclerosis is a complex disease whose causes of development are not fully understood. The common assumption is that MS is a combination of innate predisposition and environmental exposures during life. In the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it was reported that the probability of passing the disease to future generations is significantly less than 5%.