Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-06-11 16:52:15
What Is It Like To Live With Multiple Sclerosis, An Autoimmune Disorder
- Dr. Abhishtita Mudunuri
- 3 Min Read
Multiple sclerosis is a disease condition which affects the nervous system. In this condition, the immune system of the body starts attacking the protective “myelin” covering around the nerves which leads to severe nerve damage and deterioration. Effects of multiple sclerosis are different for different cases but some of the common signs are problems with vision, balance, physical activities and muscle control.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosisThe symptoms are not only different for each case, but it can change during the course of the disease as well. Some of the commonly noticed symptoms are-
- Weakness in one or more limbs
- Pins & needles-like sensations over the face, arms, etc.
- Unsteadiness and loss of balance
- Pain and shock-like sensation upon movement, especially in the neck
- Fatigue, dizziness and vertigo
- Blurred vision and sometimes loss of vision
- Problems with bowel and bladder function
- Emotional changes and depression
- Learning and memory problems
Risk factors of multiple sclerosisMultiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease the exact causes to which are unknown. The protective coating of myelin which covers nerve endings is destroyed by the body’s own immune system and the nerve’s ability to transmit signals is hampered. While it is not exactly clear why certain people develop this condition, the causes seem to be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Some of the known risks associated with developing this condition are-
- Age- While this condition can occur in any age group, it most commonly happens to people in the age group of 16-55 years.
- Gender- Women are twice or thrice more likely to develop this autoimmune disorder as compared to men.
- Family history of this condition- If an either of the parents or a sibling has multiple sclerosis then it is definitely a risk factor for developing this condition.
- Certain pre-existing infections- Certain viral infections such as Epstein-Barr and mononucleosis have shown a connection with multiple sclerosis.
- Ethnicity- White population particularly those from a northern European descent are at the highest risk of developing this condition. People of Asian, African and Native American descent are at the lowest risk.
- Deficiency of vitamin D- Vitamin D deficiency and lack of exposure to sunlight pose a risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
- Certain diseases- Conditions like thyroid disorders, type-I diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease poses a slight risk of developing this condition.
- Smoking- Smokers who experience the initial or first wave of symptoms are at a greater risk of falling into a relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis as compared to non-smokers.
Consult a Neurologist
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