Multiple Sclerosis – Causes, Symptoms and TreatmentThe disease multiple sclerosis (MS) manifests itself through various symptoms. The diagnosis is extensive. Exact causes for the development of the disease multiple sclerosis are not yet researched. How the disease progresses varies from individual to individual.
Multiple sclerosis (encephalomyelitis disseminata) is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the central nervous system and in the further course damages and destroys the sheaths of the nerve fibers as well as the nerve cells themselves. The autoimmune disease can trigger a variety of complaints that also occur in other clinical pictures, such as a herniated disc or circulatory disorders. This makes the diagnosis more difficult. Makes complex examinations necessary.
MS is clustered in some families. The predisposition to the disease can be inherited, so that one cause of multiple sclerosis is the genetic factor.
Another cause of the disease is that the body of the affected person attacks its own nerve tie. Multiple sclerosis thus belongs to the autoimmune diseases.
One reason for this process can be childhood infections against which the body has formed antibodies and which, after years, rebel against the body's own tie. Infectious diseases that have been overcome, such as herpes viruses or chlamydia, can also lead to multiple sclerosis years later.
In addition, factors such as
cause an MS relapse.
The course of the MS disease is individually different. In many patients, the disease progresses in so-called relapses. The symptoms appear suddenly. Last for weeks or months.
Once the relapse is over, the symptoms almost completely disappear. However, with each episode a slight deterioration remains, so that the overall condition worsens slightly with each episode.
In some patients, the condition worsens progressively, but there are no relapses. In another form of MS, relapses occur at first, but they become fewer and eventually no longer occur. The symptoms continue to worsen.
In a severe course of the disease, a sudden inability to move arms or legs can occur as a result of an attack. In the case of permanent impairment, some patients are dependent on a wheelchair.
If the disease occurs in relapses, there may be a symptom-free period of several years between two relapses. In contrast, there are also some patients with a very rapidly progressive disease.
These patients die after a few years. The better the symptoms disappear after an attack, the higher the life expectancy.
Multiple sclerosis manifests itself differently in each affected person. In the beginning, however, patients usually have sensory and visual disturbances.
In most patients, the visual disturbances manifest themselves in such a way that it is only possible to see through a veil of fog; this usually only affects one eye. Many sufferers also see flashes before their eyes or can no longer recognize colors correctly.
Some affected persons also see the images twice. These visual disturbances last for a few months. Then usually disappear again.
The sensory disturbances occur in most MS patients. Patients have in the legs or arms Numbness.
Sometimes the patients also experience tingling sensations. Some patients also feel their fingers. toes are no longer fully.
Muscle paralysis is also a symptom of multiple sclerosis. The muscles feel tired and flaccid. Sometimes arms and legs are affected, sometimes only one side of the body is affected.
Lack of sense of taste and incontinence
Some affected persons can also no longer taste all tastes or also have pain in the face. Many MS patients become incontinent. Can no longer control urine output.
Also Impaired speech or gait disorders can occur. Many MS patients are prone to depression and listlessness because of worsening symptoms.
To the other possible symptoms include
– dullness – unsteady handling and – mood changes.
When a patient describes these symptoms, the doctor performs a detailed neurological examination to confirm the suspected diagnosis. The neurologist performs an EEG in every case. Measures brain waves during this examination. If multiple sclerosis is present, the EEG shows changes typical of the disease.
Magnetic resonance imaging is also performed. Even if the patient notices only a few symptoms, MS can already be diagnosed here.
Often the cerebrospinal fluid is also examined. If this examination results in elevated values, this may also indicate other diseases, such as meningitis. Accordingly, the so-called cerebrospinal fluid examination is never performed as the sole examination when multiple sclerosis is suspected.
Diagnosis takes time
New research by the Federal Insurance Office suggests that the number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in Germany has risen to more than 200.000 has increased. Multiple sclerosis can cause a whole range of different symptoms, which is why the diagnosis is very complex. Many other diseases cause the same signs or influence the course of the disease.
Detecting multiple sclerosis is not easy and resembles a puzzle game. Mental illnesses can also have an influence on the symptoms and delay the diagnosis. In order to treat the "disease of 1.000 names and faces" to recognize the presence of MS, physicians use established diagnostic criteria.
In MS, inflammation occurs in various parts of the central nervous system, such as the brain or spinal cord. About 50 percent of those affected suffer from visual and sensory disturbances, about 30 percent complain of motor disturbances.
A drug to cure multiple sclerosis is not yet available, so only the symptoms can be treated. However, the earlier multiple sclerosis is detected and treated, the better the disease can be managed.
A distinction is made between
Relapse therapy for the treatment of acute relapses Basic therapy for permanent treatment and inhibition of progression, and symptomatic therapy to treat the symptoms.
As part of the therapy, not only are the symptoms treated during an acute relapse, but long-term therapy is also carried out. Also in the phases between two relapses, medications are thus prescribed.
Dosed glucocorticoids, such as cortisone, are administered during relapse therapy. In the case of a very severe episode, blood washing is resorted to.
In the context of relapse prophylaxis one chooses Medications that alleviate the severity and frequency of relapses. These remedies include
– Interferons – Azathioprine – Glatiramer acetate as well as – intravenous immunoglobulins.
Patients who have a disturbed gait or paralysis are usually prescribed physiotherapy to prevent further progression of these symptoms. Often, relaxation exercises also help if the patients are very depressed and depressive or exhibit tremors and sleep disturbances.
To Treatment of accompanying symptoms come sometimes
Dietary tips for MS patients
Multiple sclerosis is an incurable autoimmune disease. There are currently no drugs that could cure the patients.
Nevertheless, no patient has to stand idly by and watch the disease progress. With the right diet, the course of the disease can be positively influenced.
Normal weight through healthy food
MS patients should make sure that they are neither overweight nor underweight. Normal weight is best for the body. And the diet should also be designed for this.
Fiber is the main component of the daily diet. For example, people with MS should eat whole-grain rolls instead of white-flour rolls.
But fruits and vegetables should also be eaten daily, as they contain many valuable vitamins. Meat, on the other hand, should be eaten only rarely.
Choosing the right fats
In addition, care should be taken to consume as little fat as possible. But: not all fat is the same. When cooking, butter should be avoided. Instead, for example, rapeseed oil should rather be used.
For it fresh herbs must not be spared. MS patients should use plenty of it.
Canola oil, as well as fish such as mackerel and herring, contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to the latest research, have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. This is exactly what MS patients take advantage of.
Therefore, patients suffering from multiple sclerosis should eat fish at least twice a week. Foods that promote inflammation, on the other hand, should be banned from the diet as far as possible. This includes meat, but also, for example, the egg yolk.
A healthy balanced diet is always better for MS patients than various diets that promise a supposed cure for the disease. The last thing an MS patient's body needs, however, is malnutrition, for example by eating exclusively gluten-, dairy- or bacteria-free foods.
With the correct nutrition patients can achieve however quite that the next attack is postponed or that it runs off weaker than otherwise.
Since it is not known exactly what causes multiple sclerosis, prevention is not possible. However, the earlier the disease is detected, the better it can be treated. Anyone who notices such symptoms should see a doctor immediately and, if necessary, start the appropriate drug therapy in time.
In the following we give tips for coping with everyday life with MS.
Facilitating everyday life with various aids
Most people suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) rarely need special aids, as they remain mobile for many years despite the disease. However, other patients depend on devices that make their daily lives easier.
Types of aids
The range of assistive devices for coping with multiple sclerosis is wide. However, only items that are covered by health insurance are considered to be aids.
The special aids are designed to help MS patients lead as independent a life as possible. As the disease progresses, it is possible that symptoms will increase, so it may be necessary to adapt to the patient's new needs.
The most important assistive devices include the rollator and the wheelchair, which help patients with their Locomotion support. A wheelchair can be very valuable, for example, for taking a trip into town or into the countryside. In some cases, a wheelchair can be combined with a walker.
Furthermore aids count to the Compensation for functional deficits (z.B. (e.g., bandages and orthotics), but also those that make daily life easier, such as
– to facilitate the care (shower chair etc.).) – technical aids (z.B. radio remote controls, voice-controlled devices) – writing aids – special bottle openers – special cutlery
and many more to the offers.
Finances and advice
A problem with the choice of aids is that the patient does not have the full freedom of decision, if the costs are taken over by the health insurance or care insurance. Thus, the respective carriers determine a certain maximum contribution per aid.
Everything, which goes beyond that, must be financed by the patient himself. In order for the patient to make the best use of his or her room for maneuver, counseling is provided through
– the attending physician – an occupational therapist – the local MS association or – a self-help group
recommended. These help with the choice of the suitable means as well as with the request of subsidies.
Before using a particular aid, it is advisable to test it first so that it can be adapted to individual needs if necessary. For example, a wheelchair should be checked for comfort, maneuverability, stability, and whether it can be disassembled or folded.
With a rollator, it is important to consider that it has four wheels to ensure sufficient stability. It should also have the right size, safe brakes and be easy to store in the home or car.
Health insurance companies cover the costs of aids such as walking aids, wheelchairs and tub lifts, since they are part of the therapy or compensate for the physical impairments of the MS patient. Normally a prescription of the treating physician is sufficient for it.
An adult patient must pay 10 percent of the dispensing price for each aid. Helpful information about the reimbursement of aids is provided by the BAG Selbsthilfe.
Diagnosis MS – the combination of illness and occupation
Multiple sclerosis (MS) often occurs between the ages of 20 and 40. Just in this stage of life most MS patients are in the working life or complete an apprenticeship.
Family and children also play an important role. For example, a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis can result in significant changes in planning for the future.
Adapt the work to the disease
However, multiple sclerosis does not necessarily lead to inability to work and early retirement. Despite the disease, many MS patients are able to carry out their professional activities without major restrictions.
In addition, the work can be adapted to the new situation, if superiors and colleagues react with understanding. For some people, however, the disease can have such a severe effect that they are no longer able to perform their job smoothly.
The question of disclosure
After being diagnosed, many people with MS wonder if they should even tell their employer about their disease. There is no obligation to do so, unless you are in a job where there is an increased risk of accidents. This can be the case, for example, with roofers or construction workers.
Whether one confides in colleagues depends on the working atmosphere. If the collegial relationship is good, it can even be advantageous to talk about the disease, because this leads to more understanding and consideration. In addition, the workload can be adapted to the individual situation.
However, if the working atmosphere is poor, the opposite can happen, leading to exclusion and possibly even dismissal. In this case, it's better to keep quiet about the disease if it's a mild form.
The right education
If one decides to deal openly with the illness, educational work is extremely important. For example, many people do not know that multiple sclerosis has different individual courses, so that an end in a wheelchair is not inevitable. The more the environment is informed about the personal situation of the MS patient, the better it can help him or her.
Advice on suitable occupation
An important support for working people who suffer from multiple sclerosis are Training courses offered by the DMSG (German Multiple Sclerosis Society). In this way, those affected learn how to reconcile illness and profession.
At the DMSG you can also find out which professions are best suited for MS patients. While artistic professions or honorary activities can usually be pursued without problems, professions in which one is exposed to strong stress or in which machines and vehicles have to be operated are considered rather unsuitable.
What MS patients should consider when planning their trip
Travel is also very important for people suffering from chronic illnesses, so that they can recharge their batteries for the demands of everyday life. An illness such as multiple sclerosis does not mean that you have to forego vacation trips.
However, it should be ensured that the trip really contributes to recovery and does not become a burden. Since some things can be more strenuous than one suspects beforehand, it is advisable to plan the journey well.
find a suitable travel destination
One of the most important criteria for a trip is the selection of the travel destination. Sufferers of multiple sclerosis need to choose their vacation destination carefully. Thus, it is important to Avoid unnecessary physical stress or extreme climatic conditions.
This includes, for example, strenuous mountain and hiking tours or trips to hot regions, because in a hot climate there is a risk that multiple sclerosis will worsen and possibly lead to a relapse.
As an MS patient, it is very important to cool down regularly and not overexert yourself. Also, stay out of the sun during midday hours.
Since multiple sclerosis can also be triggered by a simple cold, it is advisable to,
– to be careful in air-conditioned rooms – to avoid drafts and – to think of warm clothes as well as rain protection.
For some journeys it is necessary to have a vaccination. Whereas it was previously unclear whether MS patients could be vaccinated without risk, it is now considered safe to ame that inoculations with inactivated vaccines against multiple sclerosis are effective
there is no risk of an attack. Therefore, people suffering from multiple sclerosis are advised to regularly refresh their vaccination protection.
However, caution is advised when taking long-term vaccinations with immunosuppressants, as this can lead to considerable side effects. Vaccinations against are considered risky
which are carried out with live vaccines. If in doubt, consult a vaccinator or vaccination center.
Medical care at the destination and medication
If you are going to travel abroad for a longer period of time, it is recommended to inform yourself about the local medical care. This can be done by contacting either the Foreign Office or the national MS society in the country of travel. Appropriate information is available among other things at the DMSG federal association.
The medicines required for the treatment of the disease must also be taken regularly during the trip. Therefore one should take enough medication with you and always keep it in your hand luggage.
What MS patients should keep in mind when it comes to sports
Sports activities and regular exercise are generally considered healthy. Even people suffering from a disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS) can benefit from exercise, as it can improve their muscle strength and overall fitness.
Regular exercise in multiple sclerosis is even recommended by many physicians, because the maximum muscle strength of an MS patient is less than that of a healthy person. Especially the limbs are affected.
Positive effect of sports in MS
Scientific studies have shown that MS patients lose muscle mass as a result of the disease. The cause of muscle weakness are changes in the muscle cells. There is also a disturbance in the transmission of nerve impulses.
To counteract the gradual loss of muscle strength, MS patients are advised to exercise regularly or undergo physiotherapy. In the past, MS patients were advised to do the opposite, as it was believed that physical activity had a negative effect on the disease.
In addition, patients should save energy for everyday life by refraining from sports. Newer studies resulted however in positive effects with the practice of sporty activities.
Possible sensory disturbances usually disappear quickly
One problem, however, is that about 40 percent of all MS patients experience increased sensory disturbances after exercising. In most patients, however, these disturbances return to normal after half an hour.
What to pay attention to
Who would like to do sport as MS patient, should pay attention to some points. Thus, it is important not to strain the body too much, so that it does not come to an overload. An examination by an experienced sports physician makes sense.
The physician can advise the patient on the best type of exercise for him or her and the amount of exercise required. In order for sports to really have a positive effect on health, the training program must be individually adapted to the patient's state of health, form and fitness.
If you overdo it with physical exertion, there is a risk that your symptoms will worsen. If you play sports with other people, it is advisable to inform your sports partners and trainers about your illness.
It is better to avoid training in very warm temperatures, as these can lead to an aggravation of the symptoms of the disease. It is also important to remember to drink enough fluids. A cool shower after sports can be relaxing.
The types of sports that can be practiced in multiple sclerosis depend on the patient's individual performance capacity. While some like
other patients prefer to go for a walk.
More on the subject on the Internet
German Multiple Sclerosis Society (DMSG) The German Multiple Sclerosis Society, Federal Association e.V., is the interest agency multiple sclerosis patients and family members.
AMSEL e.V. Website of the AMSEL e.V. (Action Multiple Sclerosis Sufferers). With MS information for those affected and their relatives.
Appropriate to the topic
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