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What You Need to Know About Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis affects a lot of men and women in Singapore when they reach the age of 50, although the number of affected isn’t as high as the other countries in Asia. The causes of this progressive illness are still unknown and even the progress and severity cannot be predicted.

Here are the facts you need to know about multiple sclerosis.

It is an autoimmune disease.
Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a kind of autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system, which means that your own body attacks the protective covering of the nerves in your brain and spinal cord called myelin. The myelin, which is a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers, is responsible for the transmission of the nerve impulses in your nerves. MS results in the inflammation and damage of the myelin over time, causing interruptions in the nerve impulses or damage to the nerve fibers. The name sclerosis is taken from the scar tissue that forms on the damaged myelin.

The symptoms are unpredictable.
The afflicted experience different symptoms such as weakness and extreme fatigue, tingling sensations, lack of coordination in the movements, vision problems, sensation problems, bladder problems, sexual dysfunction, mood swings, spasms and pains, and cognitive impairment. Some of the symptoms can be mistaken for other health problems, so make sure to get diagnosed properly. MS is not fatal, however, and a lot of people with the condition can still live normal lives and live for up to 80 years in Singapore.

The symptoms are subtle.
For some people with MS, the symptoms might not be noticeable and will develop slowly. The progression and severity of the condition will also vary and cannot be predicted even during a medical checkup. If you suspect that you or someone you know has MS, it’s important to consult a neurologist in Singapore to check coordination, strength, and eye movements. If there are symptoms, the doctor will recommend additional tests such as MRI scans to determine the extent of the damage in the brain tissue. Then the doctor has to pinpoint if you have clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting MS, primary progressive MS, or secondary progressive MS.

Multiple sclerosis cannot be cured.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS today, although studies are still ongoing to pinpoint the causes, risk factors, and to come up with effective treatments for MS. Some researchers point to a combination of factors for the cause of MS such as genes and family history, age, lifestyle and habits, and environment. Anyone can be affected by MS, but most patients are diagnosed between the ages 15 and 40.

There are treatments for MS.
The goal of treatment is to reduce the progression of the disease and to ease specific symptoms experienced by the afflicted person. He/she must also avoid relapses, or short and severe attacks. Some of the treatments available are immunotherapy or the modification of the immune system’s activity; prescription of methylprednisolone to control severe attacks and reduce inflammation; and prescription of immune suppressants for people with progressive MS.

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