A Comparison Of Two Nervous System Disorders

1422 words - 6 pages

Multiple Sclerosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome are two well known disorders of the nervous system. Specifically, these diseases attack the myelin, which is a fatty sheath that wraps around the axon of the nerve in order to increase their conduction velocity. In order to create a mental image of what the myelin looks like, take a look at any sort of power cord. The cord itself can represent a nerve found within the human body. The rubber that surrounds the wires helps to insulate the wiring and help to make sure the electricity follows a steady path and doesn’t jump to other areas. This is similar to the myelin that surrounds our nerve fibers, it helps to keep the signal intact while it is travelling to its target source, as well as speeding up how fast the signal travels. This paper will discuss the background of each disease, their signs and symptoms, and finally the treatments and/or management of each disease.

Background of Multiple Sclerosis:
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be defined as a degenerative disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord: two key components of the central nervous system. Unfortunately, this disease affects a large number of individuals. According to a study completed by Rumrill, every 1 in 750 individuals will end up having multiple sclerosis at any given point in time.1 This high number can be attributed to the fact that nearly anyone can be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It can be diagnosed regardless of age and gender, but a unique finding is that it is rarely seen in certain backgrounds. African Americans, Hispanic, and Asian individuals are rarely diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. On the other hand, those individuals with descents that trace back to German, Scandinavian, or Anglo-Saxon are more likely to be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. With descent the question of heredity and the risks of getting multiple sclerosis comes to mind. The risk of acquiring multiple sclerosis can increase as much as ten-fold if you have a first-degree relative who has developed multiple sclerosis.1 With multiple sclerosis, a number of signs and symptoms can appear, and sometimes patients with this disease can be asymptomatic.

Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a very unique disease, but luckily clinicians have been able to identify four patterns within this disease that can help to determine where in the disease process the patients are. Relapsing-remitting MS involves the patient experiencing flare ups in their symptoms. These flare ups can last weeks to days, and can involve breaks of asymptomatic periods.1 Another pattern that MS can follow is called primary progressive MS. This form of MS involves a slow and steady development of symptoms, where the patient may not experience any asymptomatic episodes. This is usually seen in individuals older than the age of forty, and makes up 10% of the diagnoses of MS.1 Secondary progressive MS is similar to primary progressive MS, however...

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