- What is multiple sclerosis?
- What is the meaning of demyelination or demyelinating illness?
- What are the common symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
- Sudden onset diminished vision in one or both eyes, which may get worse over a few days,
- Numbness of arm or leg on one or both sides of body,
- Weakness of arm or leg on one or both sides of body,
- Imbalance while walking,
- Bladder symptoms,
- How is the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis confirmed?
- What are the important investigations for confirming a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis?
MRI(Magnetic resonance imaging) of brain and spinal cord- this is the most important investigation. MRIshows the involvement of different parts of brain and spinal cord. The white matter of brain and spinal cord are typically affected in multiple sclerosis. The diseased part of brain and spinal cord are also referred to as “lesions” or “plaques”. A new or active lesion shows enhancement on MRIwith contrast dye injection. In addition, there may be swelling around the active lesions. MRIis also able to distinguish new versus old lesions, and is useful to monitor the disease progression or improvement and also the effectiveness of treatment.
- CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) analysis- CSF is removed by lumbar puncture (LP) by inserting a needle in lower back. In multiple sclerosis, the CSF protein is elevated; however, the number of white blood cells (WBCs) is either normal or only slightly elevated. CSF sugar is often normal. CSF is also tested for the presence of oligoclonal bands (OCBs), the presence of which indicates an active disease.
- Evoked potential studies may be ordered to look for involvement of optic nerve (visual evoked potential or VEP) or spinal cord (somatosensory evoked potential).
- Blood tests (such as
ANA, Anti-dsDNA, ANCA, etc) may be ordered to exclude other diseases that can mimic multiple sclerosis.
- What are the current treatment options for multiple sclerosis?
8. Is Multiple sclerosis curable?
As of today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, with current treatments, the disease can be kept under control and new relapses can be prevented.
9. Is multiple sclerosis always disabling?
Multiple sclerosis does cause disability in a significant number of people. However, more than two-thirds of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis are independent for their activities of daily living and are gainfully employed in a job. The good outcome depends on proper treatment as well as physical & occupational therapies.
10. Is multile sclerosis contagious or genetic?
Multiple sclerosis is not contagious and does not get transmitted from one affected person to another.
There may be genetic predisposition to get multiple sclerosis but it is not a genetic disease in a strict sense, as most patients with multiple sclerosis do not give a positive family history.
11. Is multiple sclerosis fatal or lethal?
In more than 95% of patients with multiple sclerosis, it does not lead to death. However, in a minority (less than 3%) it may lead to death either due to the direct effect of the severe disease or another complication such as pneumonia or deep vein thrombosis.
I hope this article is useful for hundreds of patients with multiple sclerosis as well as their caregivers. In addition, if someone is looking for information on multiple sclerosis (MS), it should be useful.
For any additional information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
DR SUDHIR KUMAR MD (Internal Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad, India