Multiple sclerosis – a disease of the central nervous system
Its exact cause is not yet known. However, today modern medicine is able to control this serious chronic disease as much as possible.
The disease usually occurs in young people between the ages of 20 and 40, and more often affects women. There is no standard course of multiple sclerosis, and therefore, no patient can be unequivocally told how it will develop.
The numbers are alarming
Despite the fact that the development of the disease varies from person to person, doctors distinguish between three main forms or phases of the disease: relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive, and predominantly progressive.
A key element of treatment is observation of the development of the disease, in which the patient himself plays an important role. Registration of any changes can help the doctor to better control the disease and choose the most appropriate treatment.
It is important to know that multiple sclerosis develops throughout life and can generally be divided into several different types.
Multiple sclerosis development
Multiple sclerosis is different for everyone, both in development and in manifestations. The manifestations of this diagnosis vary from person to person, depending on where neurons are damaged in the brain and spinal cord.
Because of this disruption, signals cannot travel properly between the brain and the rest of the body. For some, this is a problem with vision, fatigue, or, for example, with coordination of movements. Others have problems with muscle weakness, cramps, or balance.
However, in addition to the different manifestations, people with multiple sclerosis also have a very individual course of the disease. In some cases, the disease progresses more slowly and the transition to the next phase takes many years. However, in other cases, the disease progresses rapidly and can lead to disability, and even the most modern treatment will make little difference.
Most patients fall somewhere between these two extremes.
Remitting relapse phase
The most common form of multiple sclerosis, which occurs in 85% of people with this diagnosis at the onset of the disease, is called relapsing-remitting. This phase is a typical period of seizures (professional relapses) when a person feels the signs of illness.
The attack usually lasts more than 24 hours, but in most cases, several days. The seizure is followed by at least 30 days of rest (occupational remission). “In the relapsing-remitting form, the patient usually feels almost normal during periods of rest.
However, the degree of neurological impairment increases with each seizure, although this may not be obvious at first glance. Therefore, it is very important to start treating multiple sclerosis as soon as possible. The relapsing-remitting phase of the disease is best influenced by treatment, and with the provision of early professional care, there is a chance to prevent an exacerbation of the disease with a vision of living as fulfilling as possible.
Multiple sclerosis affects the ability of nerve cells (neurons) of the brain and spinal cord, interferes with the correct interaction with each other.
Secondary progressive phase
As our life develops, multiple sclerosis also develops, and over time it can move from a relapsing-remitting phase to a secondary-progressive phase. Approximately 50% of people with multiple sclerosis develop a secondary progressive form without treatment after 10 years, and after 25 years – in 85–90% of patients.
This phase is manifested by fewer or no attacks. However, this does not mean that the development of the disease has stopped. On the contrary, the inflammatory process of multiple sclerosis in the body continues, and neurological manifestations gradually worsen until they become permanently disabled.
Doctors cannot assess the speed and severity of the onset of changes, so it is very important that patients monitor changes in their condition and are not afraid to tell a neurologist about them. The timely exchange of information is critical for the correct and successful treatment of multiple sclerosis, even in the secondary progressive phase.
Predominantly progressive phase
The latter form, primarily progressive, is relatively rare and occurs in 10-15% of people with multiple sclerosis. With this type of seizure, there are no (except in exceptional cases), and neurological problems are aggravated from the very onset of the disease.
This form begins at a later age, about 40 years, more common in men, usually consists of problems with walking. As with other forms of multiple sclerosis, it is important to consult and talk to your doctor about any changes in order to distinguish the primary progressive phase from other forms of multiple sclerosis.
How to take control of multiple sclerosis
The key to improving the quality of life in multiple sclerosis as well as maintaining peak performance is regularly monitoring symptoms and consulting a doctor. Observation of the patient is crucial for doctors to correctly determine the development of the disease and to prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Photo from Pixabay.com