A multiple sclerosis diagnosis should be done immediately after the patient exhibits manifestations of the disease.
Multiple sclerosis is considered to have an impending debilitating disorder wherein the immune system of the body destroys the protective layer, the myelin sheath. These dysfunctional protective layers, which envelope the nerve fibers inside the central nervous system, will interfere with the relay of messages between the other parts of the body and the brain. The outcome of this incidence is the gradual loss of nerves, an irreversible condition.
Manifestations can differ widely depending on the extent of damage and the type of nerves affected by the disease. Patients with severe types of multiple sclerosis can lose their capacity to speak or to walk. This condition may be very difficult to detect early in the development of the disorder because manifestations frequently vary in their occurrence.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Nevertheless, management can assist the patient to have as normal a life as possible. These interventions can also alter the development of the disease and provide a palliative treatment for the symptoms of the disease.
How is a Multiple Sclerosis Diagnosis Done?
There is no single test which can detect the occurrence of multiple sclerosis in a patient. A multiple sclerosis diagnosis depends on the discounting of the incidence of other diseases that may be the cause of similar manifestations. The physician will confirm a multiple sclerosis diagnosis based from the subsequent tests:
• Blood examinations. Analysis of the patient’s blood may facilitate the ruling out of other inflammatory and infectious diseases that exhibit similar manifestations to this condition.
• Lumbar puncture or spinal tap. This invasive procedure will require a physician to extract a small sample of the CSF or cerebrospinal fluid from the patient’s spinal canal between the fourth and fifth lumbar area. This sample will be sent to the laboratory for a thorough analysis. The extracted CSF can illustrate irregularities associated with the disease, such as irregularly high levels of protein and white blood cells. This diagnostic test can as well rule out meningitis (See: Meningitis Symptoms) and other viral infections which can cause neurological manifestations akin to those of this condition.
• MRI or magnetic resonance imaging. This non-invasive procedure utilizes powerful radio waves and a magnetic field to create a complete image of the internal tissues. This test can show lesions which indicate the loss of myelin sheaths in the patient’s central nervous system. Nevertheless, these kinds of lesions as well may be caused by other diseases, such as Lyme and Lupus disease. The existence of these lesions, therefore, is not a distinct evidence of multiple sclerosis occurrences.
• Evoked potential test. This test gauges electrical impulses coming from the brain tissue in response to a stimulus. This procedure entails the utilization of an electrical stimulus or a visual stimulus. As a result of this process, the short, electrical signals are then applied to the arms and legs.
What is the Management for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms?
As mentioned above, this condition doesn’t have a cure. Management is usually intended for strategies to manage attacks. The goal of these interventions is to alter the development of the disease and to alleviate symptoms. Several people possess mild manifestations that medication is not necessary.
Approaches to Manage Attacks
• Corticosteroids are the most usual treatment for this condition. This drug reduces the inflammation that peaks during the occurrence of a relapse episode.
• Plasmapheresis or plasma exchange is a procedure that works like dialysis. It mechanically isolates blood cells from plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of the blood.
Approaches to Alter the Progression of the Disorder
• Beta interferons are medications, such as Betaseron, Avonex, and Extavia, designed to slow the progression of multiple sclerosis symptoms in due course.
• Glatiramer is believed to work by preventing the attack of the immune system on the myelin sheath. This is administered subcutaneously with a single shot per day.
• Fingolimod is an oral drug that works by secluding resistant cells inside the lymph nodes. It decreases the chance of having attacks.
Approaches to Manage Symptoms
• Physical therapy is performed with the guidance of an occupational or physical therapist. These professionals teach the patient strengthening and stretching exercises. They also illustrate how to utilize devices to make daily tasks easier to perform.
• Muscle relaxants are given to patients with multiple sclerosis to control painful muscle spasms or stiffness.
• Amantidine is a medication that helps decrease the fatigue of the patient.
What are the Complications of Multiple Sclerosis?
A multiple sclerosis diagnosis is essential to prevent complications from taking place. Corticosteroids are common drugs used to manage patients with this disease. Taking a large amount of this drug will make the person at risk of having potential complications due to their side effects such as a super infection and septic shock. These patients are more prone to having UTIs or urinary tract infections. Multiple sclerosis along with numerous environmental and social factors can give rise to anxiety and depression.
Other Nervous System Diseases, Symptoms and Diagnosis