Multiple sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis (MS for short) is a chronic inflammatory neurological disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The symptoms of the disease are caused by damage to the nerve insulating layer (demyelination) and degradation of nerve fibers and cells.
The course of the disease is unpredictable and very individual, the course may change over the years. Whereas in the relapsing-remitting course the symptoms at least partially disappear again, the intensification of the symptoms in the primary and secondary progressive course proceeds insidiously.
MS is not curable, but the course of the disease can be slowed down and weakened with medication.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown. It is amed, however, that it is an erroneous reaction of the body's own defense system, i.e., a "disease of the heart" autoimmune disease. Certain viruses, hereditary factors, environmental factors or geographical characteristics probably also play a role.
Multiple sclerosis usually occurs in early adulthood, sometimes in childhood and rarely in older adulthood. Particularly in the non-relapsing form of MS, namely the primary progressive form (creeping from onset), the disease usually does not begin until after age 40. In the second year of life. Women are affected twice as often as men, which is why hormonal influences are suspected.
On the left, a nerve affected by multiple sclerosis with demyelination; on the right, a healthy nerve with an undamaged myelin sheath.
Symptoms and complaints
Symptoms usually appear in multiple sclerosis after the age of 40 relapses at. Phases of good health alternate with acute relapses. Symptoms vary according to phase and from person to person. No two MS are alike.
In addition, the symptoms depend on the affected nerve fibers. If the disease involves nerve fibers that carry sensory information, sensory disturbances occur (sensory symptoms).
On the other hand, when the nerve fibers that transmit signals to the muscles are affected, movement disorders (motor symptoms) occur. If multiple sclerosis is suspected, the patient's medical history is first taken. The nervous system examined during a physical examination. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can reveal "demyelinating" areas in the brain and spinal cord. In certain cases, further investigations are necessary.
Multiple sclerosis is not curable, but the course of the disease can be slowed and attenuated with medication. Treatment is divided into relapse therapy, basic therapy, symptomatic therapy, and rehabilitation.
The Relapse therapy revolves around the treatment of an acute relapse. Mainly cortisone preparations are used in this case.
In which Basic therapy (also long-term immunotherapy) is aimed at influencing the course of MS. Immunotherapeutic agents such as immunomodulators or immunosuppressants are used for this purpose. In recent decades, research has produced numerous innovations in this area. 20 years ago there were hardly any therapy options, today affected persons can lead an almost normal life.
Due to the symptomatic therapy The symptoms, such as fatigue, muscle cramps or bowel emptying problems, are relieved. Here, medications as well as physio-. Occupational therapy measures to use.
With the Rehabilitation patients are supported in their return to social and professional life. This may include physiotherapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy.