Ins and outs of Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms and Causes

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Symptoms of multiple sclerosis:

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary, depending on the location of affected nerve fibers. Common symptoms may include:

Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs

Partial or complete loss of central vision, usually in one eye, often with pain during eye movement (optic neuritis)

Double vision or blurring of vision

Tingling or pain in parts of your body

Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain head movements

Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait

Slurred speech



Heat sensitivity is common in people with multiple sclerosis. Small increases in body temperature can trigger or worsen multiple sclerosis symptoms.

In some cases, people with multiple sclerosis may also likely to have

Muscle stiffness or spasms due to upper motor type of lesion.

Spastic paralysis, mostly in the legs

Mental and emotional changes, such as forgetfulness or difficulties concentrating

Problems with bladder (urgency, incontinence), bowel (constipation) or sexual function



Can you predict this disease?

No. You can't actually predict the course this disease.

Most people with multiple sclerosis, particularly in the beginning stages of the disease, experience relapses of their symptoms, which are followed by periods of complete or partial remission of symptoms.

Fortunately, some people have a benign form of multiple sclerosis. In this form of the disease, the condition remains stable and often doesn't progress to serious forms of MS after the initial attack.

What causes it?

The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. Still a mystery. It's believed to be an autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues.

In multiple sclerosis, this autoimmune process destroys myelin proteins (proteolipid protein, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, and myelin basic protein), the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in our brain and spinal cord. It is important to note that, multiple sclerosis only affects brain and spinal cord that constitutes our central nervous system, not the peripheral nervous system.

What triggers the autoimmune process?

It is still not clear yet. Infections with human herpes virus 6 and Chlamydia pneumonia has been implicated. There are demyelinating plaques both separated in space and time. These plaques develop when primed T-lymphocytes cross the blood brain barrier and activates macrophages. This inflammatory reaction causes demyelination. As a result, the axons lose their ability for conduction.

What are the most common sites affected by multiple sclerosis?

Plaques of demyelination commonly involve the optic nerve, the periventricular white matter of the cerebellum, brain stem and spinal cord.

Is multiple sclerosis contagious or fatal?

Of course not. Multiple sclerosis is neither contagious nor fatal. Most patients with this disease have a life expectancy that is not really any different from the normal population. Ms patients suffers from the complications of the disease itself. The leading causes of death in the MS community are cardiovascular diseases, different types of cancer, and stroke. MS tends to affect the quality of your life, not the quantity of it.


About the Author

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Author: Dr Rezahaider

I am a physician by profession. I dream to work on medicine in the near future. I have completed my residency three years back. Now, I am planning to obtain MRCP. This is very hard exam and surely, I am always scared of it. I have also decided to do my specialization on cardiology. Before medical school, I never thought that our heart could be so complex! So pray for me. I usually don't have enough time to write due to my studies. But whenever I get time I love to write. I write on medical related issues. I try to make it simple for you.

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