Multiple Sclerosis: When Living Becomes a Burden

Multiple Sclerosis, abbreviated to MS, is a disease of the central nervous system that is accompanied by severe pain and muscle weakness. These complaints are caused by the formation of hard spots, also called plaques, in the nerves. MS occurs on average more often in women than in men and unfortunately no curative treatment has yet been found, although fortunately there are pain relievers. MS certainly does not have to stand in the way of a desire to have children!

Multiple sclerosis

  • The nervous system
  • The complaints of Multiple Sclerosis
  • Treating Multiple Sclerosis
  • Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy

MS is an abbreviation Multiple Sclerosis . These words mean ‘multiple’ and ‘hard’ (sclero). The common phrase that describes MS is ‘ hard spots that occur in multiple places ‘. MS is a disease of the nervous system in which hard spots, so-called ‘ plaques
, develop in several places in the body in the nervous system .

The nervous system

Our nervous system is made up of three parts: the nerves, the brain and the spinal cord. The nerves are the connecting factor between the brain and the spinal cord, which in turn are connected to all parts of the body. The brain and spinal cord are together called the central nervous system . Due to the hard spots that arise in the nervous system, the central nervous system can no longer do its job properly, causing painful spots in the body.

Diagnosis MS

Many people who have been diagnosed with MS have come a long way to this diagnosis. It is very difficult for doctors to properly recognize MS. As a result, relatively many people first receive another, incorrect diagnosis before they receive the final diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. This can cause great uncertainty and decline. There is currently no research or test that can diagnose MS with 100% certainty.
To diagnose MS, doctors use the following four criteria:

  1. There must be several hard spots in the central nervous system that cause complaints
  2. The pattern of complaints must wax and wane in severity or increase sharply over six months
  3. Certain examinations, such as MRI and an epidural, must show symptoms consistent with MS
  4. The best explanation for the complaints must be MS

 

Preventing MS

MS appears to be more common in white people who live in temperate climates . On average, more women than men have MS, and most people are between 25 and 45 years old when the first symptoms occur.

Course of MS

The complaints associated with MS usually go up and down . Periods of a lot of pain alternate with relatively pain-free periods. After a period of a lot of pain and complaints, a temporary improvement usually occurs. The complaints may then partially or even completely disappear for a longer period of time. A valley is often called a scale .

The complaints of Multiple Sclerosis

MS has a wide variety of complaints. Although the complaints below are common, you do not necessarily have to get all the complaints when you have MS. Many people only experience some of the complaints.
If you have MS you may experience eye complaints . Due to inflammation of the optic nerve (retrobullous neuritis or optic neuritis), your vision may deteriorate in one or both eyes. These complaints are often temporary and usually disappear after 2 to 3 weeks. You may also suffer from double vision. This is the first complaint mentioned in many people with MS.
Many people with MS complain of fatigue . People have difficulty concentrating and feel exhausted. This fatigue often comes in episodes, alternating with episodes without this fatigue. This fatigue is worse than with other conditions and disappears less quickly and often. The fatigue usually worsens with heat and a lot of heavy food.
You may also have difficulty urinating or holding back urine. Bowel movements may also change. This is usually the result of muscle weakness . This is common in people with MS, often in the legs and sometimes in the arms, almost never in the face. The complaints usually develop gradually and become progressively worse. At the beginning of muscle weakness, it can help to give your limbs a temporary rest. Physiotherapy can help at a later stage, or you may benefit from special aids.
The most characteristic feature of MS are the short-lived but severe attacks of pain . Sometimes it is a long-lasting pain, such as a burning sensation in one of the limbs. You may also have a feeling of weakness in your muscles, or stiff muscles. Pain is usually not a primary cause, but an indirect consequence. The pain most commonly occurs in the form of painful pricking in the arms or legs, in the lower part of the back and muscle stiffness and cramps.

Cause MS

The precise cause of MS is not (yet) known. However, specialists do mention a number of possible causes, although no exclusive research has yet been conducted on this. It is currently believed that MS does not have just one cause, but is a combination, an interplay, of several factors.
MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers in a random order.

Treating Multiple Sclerosis

There are currently no known treatments that can cure MS. However, there are a number of rules of life that can make life with MS somewhat easier and softer, and there are also means with which people try to cure MS.

Rules of life MS

Many people with MS have already experienced that the symptoms associated with MS follow an unpredictable pattern. It is not possible to indicate when improvement or deterioration will occur. It has been found that certain things have a negative influence on the course of MS. The complaints diminish again when these factors have disappeared.
Vaccinations, smoking, alcohol, tea and drugs are not known to have a harmful effect on MS. Of course, these factors can have a (negative) influence on other areas of health.
Some people experience more MS symptoms at high temperatures . Existing complaints can worsen or new complaints can appear. Think of a hot shower, a bike ride through the rain or a visit to the sauna. The complaints can also occur when you have a fever. You can try to cool yourself using wet cloths soaked in cold water or a cold shower. To combat fever, a fever-reducing drug such as paracetamol can be taken.
Physical exertion , especially vigorous physical exertion, can worsen complaints. You can easily overload yourself or become overtired. Therefore, pay close attention to the body and do not go beyond its limits. It is wise not to exert yourself strongly if you still feel tired from previous effort. However, make sure you get enough, gentle exercise.
Complaints can worsen if you lead an irregular life . Eating, drinking and other regular activities at regular times ensures that you get tired less quickly and have less stress.
Infections and injuries have a negative effect on the symptoms associated with MS. Infections can cause fever and reduce overall resistance. Good condition acts as a buffer against infections.

Medication and Multiple Sclerosis

There are a number of medications in circulation that are sometimes used to treat MS. These medications cannot cure MS, but they can reduce the symptoms.
Interferon beta is a medicine made from proteins (interferons). This substance is also produced by the body itself and plays a role in the defense and immune system. There are a number of conditions for using interferon beta. For example, you must be in reasonably good physical condition and be at least 18 years old. Interferon ensures that people experience fewer relapses, that the peaks become less high and the valleys less low. Interferon is administered by injection. Well-known brand names containing interferon are Betaferon, Avonex and Rebif.
Glatiramer is an artificial medicine that must be administered daily by injection into the subcutaneous tissue. This drug is still relatively new, but nevertheless appears to have fewer side effects than Interferon.
Methotrexate is a type of medication that is sometimes given to people with more severe forms of MS. This medication is taken orally every week and has quite a few side effects.
Immunoglobulin is administered to people who have many peaks and valleys in their complaints pattern. This medication is administered by infusion, usually once every four weeks.
Mitoxantrone is often administered to people who are deteriorating rapidly over a short period of time. This drug must also be administered by infusion and has serious side effects. This drug is also used for certain types of cancer.
Natalizumab (brand name Tysabril) is a relatively new drug that research shows to be very suitable as a treatment for MS. The drug ensures that the passage of lymphocytes from the blood to the brain is obstructed.

alternative cure

For some people, regular treatment is not sufficient; these people turn to the alternative circuit to seek a supplement to regular treatment. Other people try it with a non-scientifically supported treatment because MS is also a non-scientifically supported condition. Still others choose alternative medicine because of their philosophy of life . Most health insurers and insurance companies reimburse a number of alternative treatment methods, so find out in advance which these are!

Multiple Sclerosis and Pregnancy

On average, women develop MS more often than men, usually at the age when they are in their reproductive years. MS does not have to prevent pregnancy, although there are things you should take into account. MS is not contagious and not hereditary.

The decision and the pregnancy

It can be a very tough decision: children and MS, yes or no? It is wise to talk to fellow sufferers and children of parents with MS to clarify your decision. What are the risks, what are the possibilities, are there any tips and tricks? Before you start trying to become pregnant, you must stop or reduce your medication use in consultation with your doctor. Many women surprisingly have
fewer relapses during pregnancy . The exact course of the pregnancy depends on the condition and complaints of the pregnant woman. Additional pregnancy checks are not necessary during pregnancy. However, many women with MS give birth in the hospital .

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