What is Multiple Sclerosis MS? With this post, we would like to shortly explain the basics. Later we will have detailed sub-topics.
MS is a disease that makes our own immune system mistakenly attacks the protective myelin sheath that covers fibers called axons. To explain myelin protects and insulates these axons and enhances their transmission of electrical impulses.
What Causes Multiple Sclerosis MS?
In short, the cause of MS is unfortunately unknown. It affects people without any problems and even athletes. Contrary to belief, stress is still not a proven cause of MS.
These days we spend lots of time indoors places liken an office. Because of that, vitamin D3 deficiency is common among us. Researches tell us that MS risk increases with vitamin D3 deficiency. Therefore even the mechanism is unknown, a connection exists between the two.
What Are The Types of Multiple Sclerosis MS?
The most common type is relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). Basically, about %87 of all the patients are diagnosed with RRMS. RRMS patients experience neurologically active relapse phases followed by recovery/remission phases. The frequency and magnitude of relapses differ from person to person.
The more aggressive primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS) has a prevalence of %10-15. PPMS prognosis is tougher than RRMS. Usually, PPMS patients do not experience relapses. There is a cumulative progression with varying speeds.
Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) is accepted as the second phase of multiple sclerosis. %65 percent of all the RRMS patients are diagnosed with SPMS later in their life. SPMS patients rarely experience relapses. They experience a slowly neurological decline.
Benign MS is a subtype of MS that is generally diagnosed when a patient 15 years after diagnosis is below EDSS (“Expanded Disability Status Scale”) 3 points or below. Benign MS patients are very little affected by the disease.
A very rare and much damaging type of MS is the Marburg one. The prognosis of Marburg MS is much tougher than PPMS. It often disables the patient in a few years. Marburg MS causes plague-like tumors which greatly damages the patient.
Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis MS
MS diagnosis is based on the elimination of other diseases. As of today, the golden standard is the 2017 Revision of Mcdonald’s Criteria. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the primary tool for diagnosis that is used by healthcare professionals.
In addition, Evoked potentials tests such as VEP, BAEP, SEP are other useful tools that help diagnosis. These tests evaluate the response of your nervous system to specially created images, sounds, and electrical currents.
Is Multiple Sclerosis MS Fatal?
In short, MS is not a fatal disease in itself. The life expectancy is almost the same as the general public. With the latest disease-modifying treatments and proper self-care, life expectancy is much longer compared to 20-30 years ago. In summary, most MS patients die with the same causes as the public such as cancer, heart attack, hemorrhage.
Living with Multiple Sclerosis MS
Contrary to most diseases, MS can be very different patient by patient. All types of MS affect the patient differently. For instance, RRMS patients experience relapses, and PPMS patients experience a more pronounced continuously neurological decline over time.
For RRMS patients, fully recovering after a relapse is important. Luckily, we have lots of disease-modifying drugs. With proper self-care, RRMS patients can enjoy a good life.
Progression slowing new drugs for PPMS patients are on the way. Just like other types, self-care is extremely important. However, some more radical life changes can be expected.
In summary, it may be a long journey. It will be always with you. Sometimes not a kind one but hopefully you can soothe it. Day by day science offers something new for us. New researches make our lives better. Since we are in the 21st century, reaching for information is very easy. However, ignoring wrong information is vital.
Health Care Professionals
Without a doubt, they are extremely important for us. With their consultancy, diagnosis, treatments, mental support, and drugs, we can enjoy a better life. Undeniably, nothing can replace healthcare professionals’ consultations, diagnoses, and treatments.