Symptoms, causes, and meal plans for multiple sclerosis

Symptoms, causes, and meal plans for multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease. This disease causes the immune system to incorrectly target and destroy healthy cells. The immune system assaults myelin, a protective layer covering the brain and spine neurons. Damage to the myelin sheath disrupts brain-to-body nerve impulses. This damage can impact the brain, spinal cord, and eyes. This can hamper an MS patient’s daily life, severely depleting their quality of life. Read to know more about MS.

Types

Multiple sclerosis has the following four types:

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)
When a person experiences their first bout of multiple sclerosis symptoms, healthcare clinicians frequently classify it as CIS. Multiple sclerosis does not develop in everyone with CIS.

Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS)
Individuals with RRMS experience flare-ups of new or worsened symptoms, often referred to as relapses or exacerbations. A remission period follows when symptoms stabilize or go away.

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS)
People with PPMS experience symptoms that develop over time without remission or relapse.

Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS)
People with RRMS acquire SPMS after their initial diagnosis. Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis worsens with time. Relapses or flares are still possible, but there is no remission.

Causes
The causes of multiple sclerosis remain a mystery to medical researchers. However, there are many risk factors that contribute to multiple sclerosis. According to some studies, certain infections (including Epstein-Barr virus) can cause multiple sclerosis later in life.

A patient’s location can increase their risk of developing multiple sclerosis, as the disease is more common in certain places away from the equator than in others due to weaker sunlight in those regions. Reduced sun exposure lowers vitamin D levels, which is associated with an increased risk of multiple sclerosis.

MS is an autoimmune disease, meaning an immune system malfunction causes it. Researchers are investigating why some immune cells attack healthy cells.

Having a family member with multiple sclerosis increases one’s risk of getting it. However, the actual gene or development that causes MS is still not known.

Symptoms
The initial indicator of multiple sclerosis is vision difficulties, such as optic neuritis, blurriness, and discomfort in one eye. Other symptoms include:

  • Gait changes
  • Fatigue
  • Instability of disarray
  • Spasms
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Numbness or tingling sensations in one’s arms or legs

Treatment
Multiple sclerosis presently has no cure. Treatment aims to control symptoms, reduce relapses, and decrease the speed of disease progression. Doctors may prescribe the following treatment strategies.

Disease-modifying treatments (DMTs)
Several drugs have been approved by the FDA for the long-term treatment of multiple sclerosis. These include anti-relapse medicines that prevent flare-ups or attacks, medications to slow down the progression of the disease and to stop new brain and spinal cord lesions from occurring.

Relapse treatment medications
If one has severe MS, then the neurologist may prescribe a large dose of corticosteroids. This drug reduces inflammation immediately and reduces myelin sheath damage.

Physical therapy
Multiple sclerosis can impair one’s physical functioning; therefore, doctors recommend physical therapy to keep MS patients strong and mobile.

Counseling for mental health
Managing a chronic illness can be emotionally draining. Multiple sclerosis can also impact one’s mood and memory. Getting help from a neuropsychologist or other emotional support is critical to managing the sickness.

Prevention
Disease-modifying medicines are the most effective way to reduce flare-ups. Lifestyle is equally essential, and changes in it can help prevent sickness. Good medical care can improve symptoms and quality of life. Several lifestyle modifications may help MS patients better manage the condition.

Exercise
Multiple sclerosis causes muscle weakness, balance concerns, and walking problems. So, MS patients must train their muscles by doing aerobic, flexibility, and strength exercises.

Stress relief
Stress may hurt the body and psyche. It can also interrupt sleep, aggravating multiple sclerosis fatigue. Learn stress-relieving techniques like yoga, meditation, and exercise.

Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking or drinking can aggravate multiple sclerosis symptoms. Giving up smoking is beneficial for health.

Food plans
There is no specific meal plan for MS. One should consume meal plans rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean protein. Limit or avoid the intake of food items that contain added sugar, fats, and processed foods.