As Nordqvist (2012) stated, “Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system”. In accordance with the research results, multiple sclerosis affects roughly 400.000 citizens of the United States. This cruel illness affects brain cells and tissues, optic nerves and spinal cord, thus causing irreversible changes in the general mechanism of the body. This syndrome affects more frequently female than male and widely diagnoses people aged between 20 and 40.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary considerably depending on the location and the severity of each attack. The symptoms can occur in many parts of the body, affecting muscles, bowels, eyes, throat, and the other organs and systems. Muscular weakness, loss of balance, troubles with chewing and swallowing, dizziness, vision loss, constipation, tremor, etc. can point to the multiple sclerosis involvement.
Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly starts to attack its own tissues, such as the brain and spinal cord. These are the components of the central nervous system, which consist of neurons. Fulfilling the role of the “electrical impulse carrier”, these units are responsible for neurotransmission between the brain and the other parts of the body. The myelin sheath is a substance that surrounds the immune cells, thus insulating them. If this covering is damaged, the nerve signals slow down or stop. As a result, the muscles cannot manage properly, causing the loss of sensation. Nowadays, there is still no clear answer to the reasons of the immune system “breakage”. A number of scientists consider that the one of the causes might be a combination of genetic and environmental factors that a person faces in the first months and years of life.
It is rather a difficult thing to diagnose such a disease as the symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often slight and transient. Therefore, doctors must pay attention to certain factors when making the exclusion. If within one month occur some sporadic attacks indicating this disorder, and they last for at least 24 hours, there are reasons to suspect MS in the patient. Neurological exam, based on such tests as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or a spinal tap, also helps to diagnose a patient.
There are therapies that may slow this disease, but multiple sclerosis is not curable, so neither doctors nor medical treatment can aid a full recovery. The chosen treatment method should control symptoms and help the patient to keep a normal lifestyle. Therefore, supporting therapy includes medications directed for slowing MS progression and decreasing the severity of attacks, physical and speech therapies, good nutrition, etc.
At the present time, the scientists are trying to find new treatment techniques against multiple sclerosis. Thus, all efforts are focused on providing the affected people with the full and productive life.