What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurologic disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS) i.e. brain and spinal cord. MS is thought to be autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves in the CNS, especially the myelin.
Myelin acts like insulation around the nerves. It allows signals to travel rapidly. But in MS, damage to myelin weakens or blocks the signals, leading to difficulty with normal brain or spinal cord functioning.
There are several patterns of MS. At first, most people have relapsing-remitting MS. This means symptoms come and go. People can feel normal or close to how they felt before the MS attack until another happens. Attacks happen at irregular times. Some people do build up disability from repeated attacks.
Signs and Symptoms
MS vary widely, depending on the location of the affected nerve fibres. Some of the MS signs and symptoms may include:
How is MS diagnosed?
Diagnosing MS can be a challenging process. In early MS, symptoms may be non-specific and suggestive of several disorders of the nervous system. Early symptoms that come and go may be ignored.
Therefore, a physician diagnoses MS by taking a detailed history and doing a neurologic examination and by ruling out other conditions.
While no single laboratory test is yet available to prove or rule out MS, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a great help in reaching a definitive diagnosis. This test utilizes magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of internal organs. MRI can reveal lesions, indicative of the myelin loss caused by multiple sclerosis, on brain and spinal cord. Other tests such as cerebrospinal fluid test an evoked potential test may also be useful.
Many medications are available today to help people with MS. Some work to slow the progress of the disease and reduce the number of attacks. These are called disease modifying treatments.
In addition to therapies that address the underlying disease process, there are many medications to manage some of the symptoms of MS such as fatigue, stiffness, pain, bladder or bowel problems, or mood difficulties whereas some other treatments can help shorten the course of symptoms during an attack
The American Academy of Neurology https://www.aan.com/AAN-Resources/Details/about-the-aan/accessibility/ recommends that treatment with one of the disease modifying medications be considered as early after the diagnosis as possible. Disease-modifying drugs are not designed to make you feel better, but they are likely to reduce the chances of you having relapses and getting worse
Introduction of rebif has made a differential benefit in treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Rebif is a medication manufactured by a biotechnological process from one of the naturally-occurring interferons (a type of protein). It is made up of exactly the same amino acids (major components of proteins) as the interferon beta found in the human body.
Rebif is approved for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of MS to decrease the frequency of clinical exacerbations and delay the accumulation of physical disability.