Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a long-lasting (chronic) disease of the central nervous system. It also called autoimmune disease. MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between your brain and the rest of your body.
Causes: women with MS outnumber men with the condition by nearly 4 to 1. Women's immune systems work differently from men's. Specifically, women are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. In fact, nearly 7 in 10 people with autoimmune diseases are women
Symptoms: Some people's symptoms develop and worsen steadily over time, while for others they come and go.
Some of the most common symptoms include: fatigue, vision problems, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness, mobility problems, pain, problems with thinking, learning and planning, depression and anxiety, sexual problems, bladder problems, bowel problems speech and swallowing difficulties.
Diagnosis: Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a new method that could aid analysis of neurodegeneration in MS by capturing thinning of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL). OCT is noninvasive, inexpensive, rapid, highly reproducible, and able to quantify, on the scale of microns, discrete retinal layers. Besides, evoked potential test can find damage along nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
Treatment: Medicines and other treatments can help control the condition and ease some of the symptoms. The treatment also includes various therapies (physical and acupuncture), counseling and lifestyle changes and disease-modifying drugs if patients grow mental sickness. Steroids (also known as corticosteroids) may be used to treat relapses in MS. Chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs are also effective in few cases. Healthy food habit, meditation, exercise and counseling are essential to treat relapses in MS.
Prof. Dr. MS Jahirul Haque Chowdhury,
Neuromedicine Specialist, National Institute of Neurosciences and Hospital & Popular
Diagnostic Center, Shyamoli, Dhaka.