Multiple Sclerosis - Neurology

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Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is considered a chronic disorder that directly affects all parts of the central nervous system including the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. There are many different types of multiple sclerosis including:

  • Primary/progressive - this type of multiple sclerosis is slow and involves a continuous worsening of symptoms as the individual ages.
  • Relapsing/remitting - this is the most common type of multiple sclerosis. Individuals diagnosed with this type of MS may experience occasional flare-ups, followed by partial or even complete recovery.
  • Secondary/progressive - this type of MS follows the relapsing/remitting type of MS, though symptoms steadily worsen as the individual ages.
  • Progressive/relapsing - individuals diagnosed with this type of MS experience steadily worsening symptoms from the time of diagnosis. They experience flare-ups, often without any improvement or recovery afterward.

Multiple sclerosis often affects individuals between 20 and 50 years of age, and twice as many women as men are diagnosed with the condition. The direct cause is unknown, but MS is believed to be an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks itself.

Common Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
The most common types of treatment for multiple sclerosis involve drug therapies. One or more drugs may be prescribed to help treat symptoms, depending on the individual and the severity of the disease. Drug medication may also help prevent complications as well as help slow the progression of the disease.

The most common types of drugs include:

  • Corticosteroids - these drugs help to reduce inflammation.
  • Tysabril (Natalizumab) - this prescription drug limits movement of diseased or damaged immune cells between the brain and the spinal cord.
  • Gilenya - also known as Fingolimod, this prescription medication affects the ability of immune cells in the lymph nodes to move around the body.  The oral medication is taken once a day. This drug may affect the heart rate following ingestion of a first dose, so patients need to be carefully monitored.
  • Novantrone (Mitoxantrone) - this prescription drug is known as an immunosuppressant, typically used to treat only advanced cases of multiple sclerosis because of its severe side effects.

Other medications such as muscle relaxants as well as medications that help reduce bouts of fatigue and those used for bladder or bowel issues as well as mental depression may also be prescribed.

Researchers are studying the effect of stem cell transplantation to individuals diagnosed with various forms of multiple sclerosis and clinical trials and treatments in the United States and around the world. Some have shown some promising avenues into this approach.

Benefits of Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
Multiple sclerosis treatments offer benefits to patients regardless of the type of MS they have been diagnosed with. Improvement in fatigue, coordination, walking, sensation, and vision problems may be improved with treatment. Emotional symptoms that accompany the disease including mood swings and depression may also be alleviated with some treatments.

How Much do Multiple Sclerosis Treatments Cost?
Drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis are extremely expensive. Many drugs used to slow the progression of the disease process can cost upward of $50,000 a year, with costs expected to rise. In the United States, one drug called Betaseron is over twice as expensive in the United States as it is in Great Britain. New drugs like Avonex and other newer drugs on the market provide hope, yet most patients cannot afford them.

Individuals traveling to locations such as India may enjoy an enormous cost savings on such drug therapies.

Who Treats Multiple Sclerosis?
A team of individuals is typically involved in the treatment of a multiple sclerosis patient. From doctors who specialize in chronic diseases to neurological experts are involved in ongoing care for a patient. When looking for under a surgeon, choose one officially recognized by an association or organization of neurological surgeons in your country, province or city. Neurological surgeons should be board certified by organizations in their country of origin or by international neurological organizations and associations.

By: PlacidWay,

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