Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder which usually affects people who are in their prime of life. Next to trauma, it is second most common neurological problem found in young Americans and Europeans. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. In this disease the myelin sheath (the covering around the nerve fibers of brain, spinal cord and optic nerve) gets gradually destroyed.
Messages that are transmitted from brain and spinal cord are slowed, distorted or blocked completely due to damage to the nerve tissue. There are no specific tests that will straight away help in diagnosing multiple sclerosis.
Following are some of the common symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
- Age of onset of symptoms is between 20 to 40 years. Multiple sclerosis is slightly more common in females than in males.
- Acute optic neuritis is most important presentation.
- Vision in one eye becomes hazy and is rapidly reduced. Eye is painful on movement.
- A central scotoma, especially for red or green test object in the early stages is characteristic. In few weeks, vision improves but the residual damage to the nerve manifests in some degree of optic atrophy.
- Inter-nuclear opthalmoplegia is an important sign of multiple sclerosis. Charcot’s triad of dysathria (scanning speech), nystagmus and intention tremors indicates involvement of cerebellum.
- Numbness and weakness of limbs.
- Loss of balance and co-ordination.
- Loss of bladder control and speech difficulties.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Eye trouble.
- Multiple sclerosis is characterized by lesions which are disseminated in time and space.
- Remissions and relapses are frequent in multiple sclerosis.
- Clinical features reflect involvement mainly of the white matter.
- Onset of symptom is usually acute or sub-acute. Symptoms depend upon areas of nerve involved. Most commonly optic nerves, spinal cord, brain stem and cerebellum are involved.
Subjective Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
- Subjective sensory symptom like tingling and numbness are common.
- Impairment of position and joint sensation result from lesion in posterior columns of spinal cord. As a result of plaque in posterior column tracts of cervical cord, an electric current like sensation may radiate through the body on flexion of neck (L’Hermite’s sign).
- Painful tonic spasms are a feature of multiple sclerosis.
- Urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency or hesitation of micturation or urination are common.
- Mental symptoms such as euphoria or depression are sometimes seen.
What Are The Causes Of Multiple Sclerosis?
- Viral attack, where viruses enter the body and multiply rapidly inside the body cells.
- The backfire of the inbuilt defense system called auto-immune reaction (in which the body attacks its own tissues).
- Combination of both viruses and immune reaction.
- Mental distress, exposure to cold climate and actual lesion of the central nervous system are causes that promote the disease.
- Epidemiological studies suggest a genetic susceptibility and environment are important in the causation of multiple sclerosis.
- However, there is as yet no confirmed isolation or transmission of virus from multiple sclerosis material.
Multiple factors are known to increase the risk for development of multiple sclerosis.
- It is common in young people than in old.
- Women are more prone to it than men.
- Caucasians and people of north Europe origin are found to have more prevalence of this disease.
- People who suffer from thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes are at greater risk of suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Natural Remedies For Multiple Sclerosis
There is no permanent cure for multiple sclerosis. The treatment is aimed to slow down the progression of disease. It also involves better management of spasticity.
Lifestyle changes and natural remedies help to make the daily life of the patient more comfortable.
- Patient has to take plenty of rest. Avoid overwork and fatigue.
- For mild cases, certain physical activities such as walking, swimming can be considered. It will improve the muscle tone, bladder control, fatigue and depression.
- Naturopaths recommend juice fast for 3 to 4 days which is then followed by flushing out the waste with enema. Patient is then advised to take vegetarian diet.
- Certain dairy products are also found beneficial. These include butter and cottage cheese.
- A balanced diet composed of green leafy vegetables, fruits, cherries, carrots, radish, tomato, strawberries, almonds all are beneficial.
- Massage is useful as it makes the weak muscles strong and keeps the joints in normal range of motion every day.
- Hot baths, cold showers in the morning and evening, yoga, listening to music are all beneficial in multiple sclerosis treatment.