With state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and up to the minute treatment facilities, the Centre of Excellence for Neurosciences at Vimhans Nayati Hospital strives towards offering the best care for patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. A neurological condition that can drastically impact the brain and spinal cord and lead to serious disabilities, multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that can trigger multiple symptoms throughout the body.
The immune system of a person who has multiple sclerosis starts attacking the myelin sheath that protects the nerve fibres. This leads to inflammation, as a result of which the brain is not able to send signals to the rest of the body and vice versa. It is important to note that multiple sclerosis cannot be cured completely, however, proper treatment can help in the effective management of the symptoms and even modify the course of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is marked by the formation of multiple scar tissues or plaques on the myelin sheath that affect the brain stem, cerebellum, spinal cord, optic nerves, and even the white matter, all of which carry out vital roles and functions.
Multiple sclerosis is broadly classified into four different types:
- Clinically isolated syndrome or CIS, is the first episode with the symptoms lasting for 24 hours or more. If there is a second episode of the same, it is termed as relapse remitting multiple sclerosis.
- Relapse remitting multiple sclerosis or RMMS is the most common type of multiple sclerosis with a prevalence of 85 percent. The episodes are recurrent with brief intervals in between during which the symptoms may alleviate or go away completely.
- Primary progressive multiple sclerosis or PPMS, in which the symptoms keep on aggravating and that too without any early remission. This accounts for 15 percent of the cases of multiple sclerosis.
- Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis SPMS, in which the patient experiences remission of episodes followed by the aggravation of the symptoms which progress very slowly.
Symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis
As far as the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis are concerned, these vary from one person to another depending upon the extent of nerve damage as well as the nerves that have been affected. While some people may experience mild symptoms that can be easily managed, others may have adverse symptoms, that may require detailed medical intervention. The major symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis include:
- Numbness or weakness in the limbs.
- Tingling sensation in one or both of the limbs.
- Lack of coordination leading to dizziness and vertigo
- Unsteady gait and changes in mobility
- Muscle weakness leading to spasticity and muscle spasms
- Lhermitte’s sign or electric shock-like sensation when the patient tries to move his/her neck
- Bladder and bowel incontinence
- Fatigue and general body weakness
- Problems with vision like partial loss of vision or distortion.
- Psychological impact leading to depression
- Problems with learning and remembering things
- Neuropathic pain
Factors that elevate your vulnerability to Multiple Sclerosis
The exact causes of multiple sclerosis are not yet known, however, there are certain factors that may increase the risks of the same. These include:
- Age, as the problem is more common in the age group of 20 to 40 years
- Sex, as the problem is more likely to affect women
- Genetic factors
- Excessive smoking
- Infections that can expose you to viruses like Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), or mononucleosis.
- Deficiency of vitamin D and vitamin B12 in your body
Cutting-edge diagnostic procedures offered at Vimhans Nayati Hospital
- Blood tests, to determine the prevalence of any other disease and rule out the chances of the same.
- Spinal tap or lumbar puncture, which involves the collection of a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid from the patient’s spine for detailed analysis.
- MRI or magnetic resonance imaging to detect any lesions in the brain and spinal cord. The patient is injected with contrast material intravenously to highlight the lesions.
- Evoked potential tests, to record the electrical signals generated by the nervous system in response to stimuli. The test may involve visual stimuli or electrical stimuli. The patient is asked to observe a moving visual pattern, or subjected to short electrical impulses. Electrodes help to calculate the time taken by the information to travel down your nerve pathways.
Treatments offered by Vimhans expertise for the management of Multiple Sclerosis
Treatments to deal with MS attacks:
- Corticosteroids to alleviate nerve inflammation
- Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange to deal with severe symptoms
Treatments to slow down the progression:
- Disease-modifying therapy (DMT) for slowing down the progression of the disease.
- Injectables like Interferon-beta medication that help to alleviate the frequency of relapse and Glatiramer acetate to prevent the immune system from targeting the myelin sheath.
- Oral medications like Fingolimod, Dimethyl fumarate, Teriflunomide, Siponimod and Cladribine to deal with the symptoms and slow down the progress of the disease.
- Infusion treatments that involve the use of drugs like Ocrelizumab, Natalizumab and Alemtuzumab.
- Physical therapies for overcoming disabilities.