What is multiple sclerosis? I multiple sclerosis (commonly referred to as MS for short) is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. This neurodegenerative condition is primarily characterized by damage to the myelin sheath caused by attacks from the immune system. And as a result, it interferes with the electric signals that travel through the brain’s nerve fibers to our bodies and back. The disease is predominantly more prevalent among young adults, and while both environmental and genetic factors can contribute to its development, specific causes have yet to be identified.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
The symptoms present in multiple sclerosis usually depend on the severity of the condition. They can range from mild fatigue and tingling sensations to mobility issues, muscle spasms, and in some cases, bladder and bowel issues. And because of this, it’s not uncommon for the vast majority of patients to experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, and other emotional changes.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis
MS is unique in a way that no one test that can determine its presence in a patient. Medical professionals often diagnose multiple sclerosis based on a series of physical tests and various neurological examinations. These include but aren’t necessarily limited to, MRI or magnetic imaging resonance, blood tests, checking the cerebrospinal fluid, and tests involving measuring the brain’s electrical signals.
Treating multiple sclerosis
There are currently no known cures for multiple sclerosis. However, there are many available treatments for the condition. Most of these therapies are meant to treat the symptoms and limit their occurrence as well as speed up recovery from any attacks.
While medical treatment is essential in most multiple sclerosis cases, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t self-management options that you can adopt to cope with the disease. Listed below are just a few ways in which you can keep yourself healthier and prevent MS from lowering your quality of life.
- Exercise regularly. There’s a good reason why it’s always a good idea to exercise. When you get right down to it, not only will it improve your strength, boost your immune system, and keep you fit and healthy. But it also helps promote the release of endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers, and as a result, ease your pain and discomfort and help you relax.
- Get enough rest. Rest is essential, especially when you have a debilitating condition like multiple sclerosis. After all, it allows you to recuperate energy. But it also helps your body’s regeneration processes as well by rebuilding body tissue, muscles, bones, and nerves.
- Connect with a community. Having a support network is as essential to the management of multiple sclerosis as exercise and rest. Engaging with people who understand your challenges will not only keep you in a more positive disposition, but it can also serve as an effective distraction from MS too.
Living with multiple sclerosis can affect not only the quality of life of the patient but also of their loved ones. But by having a better understanding of what the condition is and what you can do to help you control the disease, you’ll be able to live your life to the fullest, even in the face of MS.