Multiple sclerosis is one of the most misunderstood diseases of this
century. Since it's discovery, there is still no known causes, no proven
treatments, and no known cure, yet it affects possibly five hundred thousand
people in the United States alone. People need to learn more about this
disease so it can be brought to the attention of the nation.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. It
destroys the fatty myelin sheath that insulates your nerve cells. Without
this insulation, nerve communication is disrupted. The body then makes this
worse by repairing it, and clogging the area with scar tissue. Signals going
from your brain and brain stem, such as muscle coordination signals or visual
sensation signals, are slowed greatly, or just blocked off. Thus, a person
afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis can suffer any number of symptoms.
Researchers are not sure yet as to the cause of Multiple Sclerosis.
There is a kind of deadlock among scientists and doctors whether it's
hereditary, viral, or a combination of the two, with the disease being
hereditary, but with a viral trigger, or just a simple chemical imbalance in
the immune system. One thing is certain, though. Some sort of defect in the
immune system causes white blood cells to attack and destroy the myelin
There are five main types of Multiple Sclerosis. The first type is
Benign Multiple Sclerosis. It is the least severe, has little progression, and
takes up twenty percent of all cases. The second type is Benign Relapsing-
Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. It carries symptoms that fluctuate in severity,
mild disability, and it makes up thirty percent of the total. The third type
is Chronic Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. It is characterized by disability
that increases with each attack, and it is the most common with forty percent
of all cases. Chronic Progressive Multiple Sclerosis is the fourth type. It
has continuous disability that worsens as time goes by, and ten percent of all
cases are this. The last type is a very rare class called Acute Progressive
Multiple Sclerosis. This kind can kill in weeks or months, in contrast with
the usual years or decades.
Due to the type of disease and the areas it affects, there are a great
number of possible symptoms. These symptoms can fool the most experienced
physician into thinking that it is a psychological disease. The most common
symptoms are bouts of overwhelming fatigue, loss of coordination, muscle
weakness, numbness, slurred speech, and visual difficulties. These symptoms
may occur for a number of years before one is actually diagnosed, and these
symptoms will appear with little or no warning. Attacks of these symptoms
appear most often three to four years after the first incident.
Multiple Sclerosis is diagnosed by a number of ways. Most of the time,
the first test done is an MRI -- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner. This
test maps out your brain and looks for areas that have been scarred over,...