Multiple Sclerosis (MS), is a neurological disorder which can affect almost any system of the body, that is controlled by the nerves. It is a disease that can present in episodes or can be rapidly progressive. The main cause is the de-myelinization of the nerve sheaths in the brain as well as in the spinal cord.
The most common symptoms are paresis (muscle weakness), spasticity, paralysis, blindness due to optic neuritis, urinary incontinence, disturbed bowel movements with alternating diarrheoa and constipation, memory loss etc. Most signs and symptoms are seen in episodes, when referring to Remission and Relapses. This the same as dawn or dusk phenomena. During the episodes the patient is able to face the dark nights due to blindness,while during remissions that is symptom free episode, the patient is completely normal and has bright sunny days in life. The patients are evaluated based on the Expanded Disability Status Score (EDSS) score of dysability.
Above all the life of a MS patient is a battle everyday. The symptoms might worsen with increasing de-myelinizating lesion size of the myelin sheath on brain MRI.
The treatment is yet another challenge. Inspite of the new advancements in science, still today MS remains an untreatable enemy. Treatments available in the market can only slowly down or seize the further worsening of the symptoms, but still there is no treatment discovered yet, meant to fully cure this devastating disease. Beside this administration route is also painful. With majority of the drugs possible to administer only via injectable routes, like Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) given by sub-cutaneous route one injection per day and Interferon given intra-muscularly three days a week. A better option is Natalizumab (Tysabri), given just once in 28 days via intra-venous route. With the recent advancements oral therapy is introduced in the market, but hardly available in most of the countries.
A strong will power of the patient can do the wonders, it can not only improve the quality of life by positivity but also it can ameliorate symptoms to a larger extent. Patient awareness programs along with encouraging activities can help better the life of patients suffering from MS. The more the patients get to know about their disease, the more help they can provide to themselves. In today’s world, where internet plays an important role in day to day life, patients are eager to read more and more about their illness, as well as to read articles subjected to different experiences of other patients suffering from the same disease around the world. Hence, forums should be encouraged and more and more e-materials should be provided. Support from family and friends can further ease the work of neuro-physiscians in helping these patients lead a quality life.