Table of Contents
Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
As we previously mentioned, there is no ms cure available. Treatment for multiple sclerosis most often focuses on attacks recovery, progression slowing and managing of the symptoms.
- In order to reduce nerve inflammation, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids such as intravenous methylprednisolon or oral prednisone. The side effects of these prescriptions may include increased blood pressure, mood swings, insomnia and fluid retention.
- Plasmapheresis is a process where the liquid portion of the blood called plasma is separated and removed from the blood cells that are later mixed with albumin (protein solution) and put back inside the body. The plasma exchange is often used for new, sever and steroid unresponsive symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Treatments that modify progression
When it comes to primary-progressive MS, no therapies have shown any benefits so far. However, there are several therapies available for modifying the progression of MS in relapsing-remitting MS patients. Much of the response associated with this disease occurs in the beginning of the disease progression. Providing the patient with aggressive treatment as early as possible can slow the formation of lesions and lower the rate of relapse.
Unfortunately, the majority of these therapies carry significant health risks. The right treatment of multiple sclerosis depends on careful consideration and examination of many factors such as previous treatment effectiveness in similar cases, other health issues of the patient, cost of treatment, duration of disease, severity of disease and child-bearing status. These treatments include:
- Beta inteferons are the most commonly prescribed medications when it comes to multiple sclerosis. These are being injected under the skin or into the muscle. They are known to reduce the severity and frequency of the relapses.
There are certain side effects of this treatment such as injection-site reaction or flu-like symptoms.
- Glatiramer acetate is a medication used to help block the attacks on the myelin. It must be injected beneath the skin and the side effects from it may include skin irritation at the place where the injection is put.
- Dimethyl fumarate is orally taken twice a day in order to reduce the number of relapses. The side effects from it may cause diarrhea, nausea, flushing and drop in white blood cell count.
- Fingolimod is also an orally taken medication, prescribed to be consumed once a day. The purpose is to reduce the rate of relapse. When the first dose is administered, the heart needs to be monitored for duration of six hours because a side effect may be slowing of the heartbeat. Other side effects could occur too, such as high blood pressure, blurred vision or headache.
- Natalizumab is a specially designed medication with aim to block the immune cells movement that are potentially damaging to the bloodstream or the brain and spinal cord.
This treatment is considered to be the first line treatment for people suffering from severe multiple sclerosis. However, this medication increases the viral infection risk, called progressive multifocal leukoncephalopathy, located in the brain.
- Terifluonomide is a once-daily medication used to reduce rate of relapse. This can cause liver damage and hair loss, aside from other side effects. Additionally, it is not recommended for women carrying fetus in development or women who may become pregnant.
- Alemtuzumab is a drug that also helps reduce relapses by targeting an immune cells surface protein and depleting white blood cells. The potential nerve damage caused by white blood cells can be limited this way, but the risk for autoimmune disorder and infection may be increased.
If this treatment is chosen, it is done by drug infusions for five consecutive days, later followed by three days of infusions after a year. The reactions of the infusions are quite common and this drug is available from registered providers only. People treated with alemtuzumab must be registered in a program specifically created for monitoring the patients.
- Mitoxantrone is an immunosuppressant drug that can result in harming the heart and is associated with blood cancers development. This is why this drug is rarely used, solely to treat highly advanced, severe cases of multiple sclerosis.
Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
- Physical therapy
A therapist can teach an MS patient some strengthening and stretching exercises. This person helps patients learn how to use devices specifically developed to help them perform daily tasks.
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-fatigue medications
- Other medications
There are many other medications that may be prescribed for sexual dysfunction, bladder control problems, depression, pain and other problems associated with multiple sclerosis.
Alternative Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
There is a variety of alternative treatments that can help MS patients manage with symptoms such as muscle pain and fatigue. These include activities such as meditation, yoga, regular exercise, massage, healthy nutrition, acupuncture and relaxation techniques. The purpose of these treatments is to boost the mental and physical well being of the person suffering from multiple sclerosis.
The course of multiple sclerosis is most often a relapsing-remitting one. The majority of MS patients experience periods when new symptoms develop over days or weeks. These symptoms can improve either partially or completely and their relapses are followed by disease remission periods that last for month. In some cases, the quiet periods may last up to a year.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis may be worse as a result of small body temperature increases, but these occurrences are not considered to be relapses. The number of people who have relapsing- remitting MS range from 60 to 70 percent and the symptoms they develop are usually progressed steadily. This is known as secondary – progressive MS and is characterized with or without remission periods.
Mobility and gait are often targeted when worsening of symptoms happens. The rate of the progression of MS varies among patients with secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis. Primary – progressive multiple sclerosis is what is known as a gradual onset and progression of symptoms without relapses.
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis
The treatment for ms is determined upon the diagnosis of the cause of multiple sclerosis. This condition is considered to be an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the body (more specifically the tissues). In the case of multiple sclerosis, what the immune system attacks and destroys is the myelin – the fatty substance that protects nerve fibers located in the spinal cord and the brain. When this happens, the messages that constantly travel along the particular nerve may be either slowed or blocked. Additionally, this may result with complete nerve damage.
The reason why some people develop MS and some don’t is unknown. Perhaps this is the key reason why there is no cure for ms yet, but the most probable cause for this is presumed to be environmental or genetics- based.
Risk Factors for MS
There are many factors that may increase the risk of developing this disease, among which the most common are:
- Women are more often diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and are known to be about twice as likely as men to develop this condition
- Multiple sclerosis most commonly affects people between the ages 15 and 60. However, this condition can occur at any point in life.
- If a parent or sibling was diagnosed with MS, you have higher risk percentage of developing this condition.
- People of Northern European descent and generally white people are at highest risk of developing multiple sclerosis, while the lowest percentage goes to people of African, Asian or Native American descent.
- There are certain infections and viruses commonly linked to MS. These include Epstein-Barr, a virus that can cause mononucleosis.
- Locations with temperature climates such as Canada, New Zealand, Europe and southeastern Australia are more likely homes of people suffering of MS.
- Autoimmune diseases. If you have thyroid disease, inflammatory bowel disease or type 1 diabetes, you have a slightly higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
- People have more chances of developing a second event that confirms this condition if they smoke, compared to people that do not.
Complications of Multiple Sclerosis
There are many treatments for MS as an alternative to multiple sclerosis cure, but people with multiple sclerosis may also experience certain complications such as:
- Paralysis (most often in legs)
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle stiffness
- Bladder issues
- Bowel problems
- Sexual functioning difficulties
- Mood swings
- Mental changes