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Multiple Sclerosis What is multiple sclerosis (MS)? Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. There are four categories of multiple sclerosis and they include: Relapsingremitting, secondaryprogressive, primary -progressive, and progressiverelapsing. Multiple sclerosis affects people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, and about 2.5 million people around the world

have it. This condition can lead to physical, cognitive, and psychological disabilities and it affects both young adults and about 2.5 million people around the world. Usually, sclerosis occurs when the myelin sheath, a protective covering around nerve fibres in the brain, begins to deteriorate and the brain's communication with the rest of the body begins to slow down.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue, weakness, spasticity, problems with balancing, bladder and bowel problems, numbness, loss of vision, tremors, depres-

sion, diarrhea, pain, and an unstable mood. These symptoms can eventually lead to a person’s loss of sight, touch, and can eventually ruin their ability to walk and think.

Volume 1, Issue 1 February 18, 2013

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Newsletter Title

Relapsing Remitting and Secondary-Progressive MS 

Relapsing-Remitting multiple sclerosis consists of attacks that last from days to weeks and the patient either has full recovery or he/she has lingering neurological symptoms. This form of the disease is the most common.

Secondary-Progressive multiple sclerosis starts with the relapsing-remitting stage that becomes very progressive and then moves on to minor relapses and minor remissions.

Primary-Progressive and Progressive-Relapsing MS 

Primary-Progressive multiple sclerosis is the development of the disability level without any relapses or remissions. Temporary or small improvements from the condition may happen.

Progressive-Relapsing multiple sclerosis is the clear development in the disability level from the beginning and clear relapses that the patient may or may not be able to remember.

Diagnosing MS There is no specific test that determines whether or not a person has multiple sclerosis. To diagnose MS, physicians hold conversations with their patients, and take note of their medical history in order to evaluate their symptoms and signs and rule out any other ailments that do not have a connection with the condition. The physician will ask the patient about past illnesses, surgeries, family neurological disorders, where they have lived, history of medication, and allergies. Next the physician will check for exaggerated reflexes, awkward upward movement of the big toe, and eye exams. Another tool that is used to diagnose MS is an MRI which is done on the brain. The MRI is safe and accurate and it provides clearest evidence of white matter lesions in the central nervous system to monitor MS. These diagnosis are only 90-95 percent correct most of the time because the diagnosis can be very difficult.

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Treating MS Betaseron®, Avonex®, Rebif®, Copaxone®, Tysabri®, and Novantrone® are six products that have been approved by the FDA as disease modifiers for multiple sclerosis. Betaseron® stops the swelling of lesions, decreases the relapse rate of MS, increases the time between attacks and their severity, and decreases the number of lesions seen in an MRI. Avonex® slows down the relapsing rate of MS, and decreases the damage seen on an MRI. Rebif® decreases the number of relapses and their severity, delays the progression of disability, and decreases the number of new lesions seen on an MRI. Copaxone® suppresses the immune system’s attack on myelin, and decreases the number of attacks and their severity. Tysabri® decreases swelling, slows the progression of disability, and decreases the rate of relapse. Lastly, Novantrone® impedes disease progression, and decreases the number of relapses.

Alternative Treatments of MS Some MS patients use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) which are unconventional medicine practices that are not normal medicines. These alternatives include therapy, conventional medicine, and treatment that replaces the usual medicine. There are three categories of CAM: “Health and well being”, “Stress”, and “Symptom Management”. The category “Health and Well Being” include diet, exercise, herbs, vitamins, apitherapy, and hyperbaric oxygen. The category “Stress” includes massages, reflexology, meditation, guided imagery, biofeedback, tai chi, and yoga. The category “Symptom Management” includes ayurveda, acupuncture, homeopathy, and chiropractics.

Statistics 

Multiple sclerosis affects around 2.5 million people worldwide.

The cost of drugs used to treat Multiple Sclerosis can be over two-thirds of a patient’s total medical bill.

Studies show that people born in a geographic location with high incidence of MS and then move to a location of low incidence before the age of 15 will have less risk associated with MS and their location.

If one parent has a MS, the risk that their children might acquire the condition is about 2 to 5 percent.

Fatigue, a symptom of MS occurs in as many as 78% of patients with MS.

Even when being diagnosed by experts, the diagnosis is only correct 90-95% of the time.

Dr. Shields’ Health Class Multiple Sclerosis February 2013 By: Allison Wrenn

For More Information Please Contact the Following: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (800)532-7667


Dr. Shields' health project 2012

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