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Multiple Sclerosis, commonly known as MS, is caused by the formation of plaques in the spinal cord and brain as a result of a malfunction in the immune system. This disease, which is seen generally between the ages of 20 and 40, affects 3 million people worldwide and approximately 35,000 people in Turkey. MS, which progresses in attacks, can be kept under control with an appropriate and correct treatment process.
Multiple sclerosis manifests itself with symptoms such as poor balance, movement problems, visual and speech disorders, partial paralysis and weakness. This disease, which is seen twice more often in women, is experienced in attacks. Damaged areas called lesions or plaques and they are seen in the white matter of the nervous system. MS is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. In these damaged areas, pathologies are also observed in the substance surrounding the nerves. Presentations of this disease are unpredictable and may vary. Therefore, it is very difficult to define the disease. In addition, the severity of the disease may vary according to the affected area and degree of the damage to the nervous system. For this reason, the disease gives individual symptoms and requires an individualized treatment plan.
“What are the symptoms of MS?” If you are wondering, you should know that Multiple Sclerosis is not an easily recognizable disease. However, the main symptoms are as follows:
The disease first manifests itself as a decrease in strength and weakness in the legs or arms. In addition, patients experience symptoms such as newly developed sensory disturbances, double vision, instability, and blurred vision. All of these symptoms are linked to myelin. Myelin is a sheath that protects nerve fibers in the central nervous system and helps nerve fibers conduct electrical activity. In MS disease, this sheath is damaged and lost in some parts.
“What causes MS?” It is one of the most frequently asked questions about the disease. MS is seen due to various reasons. Another wondered detail about the subject is "Is MS a genetic disease?". Genetics are contributive in the development of this disease. However, there are different theories about the causes of the disease. Although the causes of this disease differ for each patient, the genetic factors are constant for each patient. The causes of the disease are generally as follows:
Diagnosis of this disease is quite difficult. Because a test method that can diagnose the disease has not been developed yet. However, MS lesions can be observed with MR images. Namely; MRI films provide detailed information about the spinal cord and brain and are very important for the diagnosis of this disease. The diagnosis is made when the lesions associated with MS appear as pale areas on the imaging. Another method for diagnosis is examination of the cerebrospinal fluid. The protein that defines immune system activity can be detected in this fluid. Evoked responses are another diagnostic method. With these tests, nerve conduction can be measured and assessed.
MS can be kept under control with the right treatment choice. However, multiple sclerosis treatment should be applied on a patient-specific basis and should be started at an early stage. The earlier the induction of treatment, which is usually seen between the ages of 20 and 40, the better the results. The vaccine, known as preventive treatment, is also effective in the treatment process of this disease. For this reason, help from a specialist should be sought as soon as MS attacks occur. However, there is no cure for this disease, and treatments are applied to reduce the effects of attacks. Another issue to be considered in the treatment process is that patients who are at risk of having chronic MS should not be given protective treatments that suppress the immune system.
MS is one of the diseases that can progress in a good or bad course. If the first presenting symptom is related to visual or sensory areas, the disease course may be favourable. Signs of a favourable disease course include; If the onset is before the age of 25, onset in only one region, the interval between 2 attacks is long, absence of myelin protein in the cerebrospinal fluid in between the attacks, very few lesions are seen on MRI at the beginning, the remission is almost complete in between the attacks, 5 years after the onset of the condition the affected neurological parts are few and the patient is female.
The course of the disease is a matter of curiosity. The end stage of MS disease may begin with many areas initially affected. In addition; It is a disadvantage that the disease appears after the age of 40, the MR lesions are numerous in the first stage, the disease is in a progressive course in the first stage, there are attacks in less than 1 year, the patient is male, and there are symptoms related to the motor and brain stem functions in the early stage.
Does MS disease (Multiple Sclerosis) prevent pregnancy?
There is no harm in getting pregnant for women with this disease. Only if the disease progresses very severely, the expectant mother should avoid very heavy work.
How can MS Disease (Multiple Sclerosis) be kept under control?
In this process, lifestyle changes are as important as medications for MS disease. Because this disease can be brought under control with a correct treatment plan and the acquisition of new healthy habits. In Multiple Sclerosis, it is extremely important to avoid strenuous work, paying close attention to nutrition, to stay away from substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, to prefer warm environments and warm water instead of very hot environments, and to keep stress at minimal levels.