A chronic disease of the central nervous system, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable condition that can range from seemingly benign to disabling. Thought to be an autoimmune disorder, MS occurs when your body mistakenly attacks its own central nervous system by targeting the myelin sheath–the fatty layer that surrounds nerve fibers. This damage disrupts the flow of information within the brain, as well as between the brain and the rest of the human body.
Symptoms vary widely, but commonly include:
- Loss of balance and muscle coordination
- Abnormal fatigue
- Impaired vision
- Slurred speech
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Difficulty walking
What causes multiple sclerosis?
While the cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown, researchers believe it may be triggered by an as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.
Diagnosis and treatment
Like many other conditions affecting the central nervous system, there is no single test that can diagnose multiple sclerosis. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in order to make a diagnosis of MS, the physician must:
- Find evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves
- Find evidence that the damage occurred at different points in time
- Rule out all other possible diagnoses
In order to fulfill the above criteria and achieve an accurate diagnosis, your doctor may perform a variety of tests including blood tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, and evoked potentials (EP) tests to measure the electrical activity of the brain in response to stimulation.
Upon the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, treatment is an ongoing process that involves comprehensive, interdisciplinary care to maintain the best quality of life possible. Treatment plans will vary based on the individual but may include medication, physical rehabilitation, and complementary and alternative medicine options such as clinical trials, dietary supplements, and acupuncture.
Contact Regional Neurological Associates
At Regional Neurological Associates, we specialize in the diagnosis and management of symptoms resulting from multiple sclerosis. As partners in your care, we are dedicated to reducing the number of relapses experienced, speeding up the recovery time when a relapse does occur and helping slow the progression of this disease. Call us at (718) 515-4347 to schedule an appointment today.