Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder that affects the central nervous system of the body. The disorder affects the communication of brain with other parts of the body. Its effects can range from being unnoticeable to devastating. It is believed that MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system starts acting against its own tissues. The disorder can affect a patient at any age; however, the potential age is between 20 to 40 years. As compared to men, women are more susceptible to Multiple sclerosis.
It still requires proof that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. While the disorder, the immune system destroys myelin – the fatty substance coating nerve fibres in the spinal cord and brain. The substance myelin can be said to be an insulation on electrical wires.
Early signs and symptoms of MS
Common early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) include:
- vision problems
- tingling and numbness
- pains and spasms
- weakness or fatigue
- balance problems or dizziness
- bladder issues
- sexual dysfunction
- cognitive problems
For some people, the earliest signs of MS might include clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), neurologic symptoms that last at least 24 hours and can’t be associated with another cause. It includes what’s called demyelination which is damage to myelin, the protective coating that helps to protect nerve cells in the central nervous system.
Although CIS doesn’t necessarily lead to MS, it could be an early sign. Symptoms of a CIS episode could include:
- Optic neuritis. This is damage to the myelin of your optic nerve which may cause vision issues and eye pain.
- Lhermitte’s sign. This condition is caused by a demyelinating lesion on the spinal cord that causes a tingling or shock feeling going down the back and neck, especially when you bend your neck down.
- Transverse myelitis. Transverse myelitis is when the spinal cord is involved and can cause muscle weakness, numbness, and other issues.
An MRI can be a useful tool in helping to determine if there’s only been one episode of CIS or multiple episodes, which may indicate MS.
At Siddarth Neuro Hospital our neurologist — will perform several tests to diagnose MS, including:
- Neurological exam: doctor will check for impaired brain or spine function.
- Eye exam: This is a series of tests designed to evaluate your vision.
- MRI: This is a technique that uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create cross-sectional images of the brain and spinal cord.
- Spinal tap: Also called a lumbar puncture, this test involves a long needle that’s inserted into your spine to remove a sample of fluid circulating around your brain and spinal cord.