Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. Specific symptoms can include double vision, blindness in one eye (which happened to me), muscle weakness, trouble with sensation or trouble with coordination. MS takes on several forms, with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may disappear completely. However, permanent neurological problems often remain, especially as the disease advances.
While the cause is not clear, the underlying mechanism is thought to be either destruction by the immune system or failure of the myelin-producing cells. Proposed causes for this include genetics and environmental factors such as being triggered by a viral infection. MS is usually diagnosed based on the presenting signs and symptoms and the results of supporting medical tests.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to improve function after an attack and prevent new attacks.
Medications used to treat MS, while modestly effective, can have side effects and be poorly tolerated.
3 times a week I inject myself with REBIF, (interferon beta 1-a), used to treat relapsing forms of MS to decrease the frequency of relapses and delay the disease.
But it has a lot of side effects like flu-like symptoms, low blood cells, liver problems, nausea, skin problems and confusion. For me, the major side effect is sleepless nights.
Besides Rebif I also use Lyrica, because MS can give nerve pain.
As many neurological medications, Lyrica gives side-effects. It’s up to you to take the best tolerated dose. Some days, when I am really in pain, I take Tradonal (Tramadol).
Physical therapy can help with people’s ability to function. Personally, I have the best therapy that exists and that’s indoor skydiving. I really love this; it makes me forget I have MS. Also, my mood gets better and as in every sport, the beginning is always the hardest. For me this was to find my balance.
Many people pursue alternative treatments, despite a lack of evidence. The long-term outcome is difficult to predict, with good outcomes more often seen in women, those who develop the disease early in life, those with a relapsing course, and those who initially experienced few attacks. They say every MS patient is different, and I agree. Life expectancy is on average 5 to 10 years lower than that of an unaffected population.
Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. Like most patients I find a way to manage my symptoms and get through the day the best I can.
The disease usually begins between the ages of 20 and l50 and is twice as common in women as in men. MS was first described in 1868 by Jean-Martin Charcot. The name multiple sclerosis refers to the numerous scars (sclerae—better known as plaques or lesions) that develop on the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. A number of new treatments and diagnostic methods are under development.