Every day physicians are faced with the challenge of delivering the grave diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS affects an estimated 400,000 people in the United States. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). It’s a chronic, incurable and often disabling disease. Onset of the disease is usually between the ages of 20-45, with a clear prevalence to women. However, it has been increasingly recognized that MS can present in childhood or adolescence. According to Disability A Diversity Model Approach in Human Service Practice MS is an “Acquired Mobility-Related Disability”. ...view middle of the document...
MRI is commonly used to aid in the diagnosis of MS, help evaluate new MS treatment, and follow patients clinically. MRI is integral to making the early and accurate diagnosis of MS. It provides valuable information for monitoring patients to identify the level of treatment responses.
People with MS can typically experience one of four disease courses, each of which might be mild, moderate, or severe. Relapsing-Remitting MS, Primary-Progressive MS, Secondary-Progressive MS and Progressive-Relapsing MS. No two people have exactly the same experience of MS, the disease course may look very different from one person to another.
Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis the majority of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis follow an initial relapsing-remitting course characterized by episodes with fairly rapid onset of new or recurrent neurologic deficits followed by partial or complete recovery.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis while the majority of MS patients follow an initial relapsing-remitting course, some patients experience a progressive course from onset. Primary progressive MS is characterized by the onset of symptoms followed by gradual deterioration.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. A number of patients with relapsing-remitting MS go on to a secondary progressive course. Usually diagnosed after an initial relapsing-remitting course, a patient demonstrates disease progression independent of relapses.
Progressive Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis affects a small number of patients, they demonstrate disease progression from the time of onset but also have clear acute relapses sometime later during their disease course.
Symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision. “Generally, persons with MS experience changes in vision, coordination, muscular strength, speech and communication, sexual functioning, bowel and bladder control, and cognitive functioning. One of the most common changes brought about by MS is fatigue, which can occur unpredictably and without relationship to physical activity.” (Mackelprang, 2009, pp. 186 Chap. 6) Symptoms vary, based on the location and severity of each attack. Nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged. Because of this, MS symptoms can appear in many parts of the body. It is common for the disease to go into remission, return or continue to get worse without periods of remission.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are treatments that may slow the disease, control it and or reduce the severity of symptoms. Present injectable therapies for disease modification in MS are Interferon-b, Glatiramer Acetate and Natalizumab. Some of the most common side effects are flue like symptoms e.g. fever, chills, weakness, muscle pain, injection site tenderness, anxiety, fatigue, sinus...