About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. It leads to the loss of the insulating cover of the nerves known as the myelin sheath. For example like those located in the brain and the spinal cord. When this happens, brain signals do not get sent properly or not at all. People who suffer from MS do so at variable ages of onset.
What is the cause?
While the cause of MS is unknown, it is suspected that the cause is secondary to an auto immune disorder where the immune system targets the myelin sheath and destroys it. We do know that it is more common in the Northern United States than in the Southern United States
Are you at risk?
MS effects women more commonly than men. While MS is not inherited, your risk of MS is higher if you have a relative with MS.
What are the signs and symptoms?
The symptoms of MS occur in episodes or attacks which can last weeks or months, and there can be long asymptomatic periods in between episodes. MS can effect the central nervous system in many different ways and so the symptoms are highly variable. The main symptoms of MS include:
Vision problems, numbness, weakness, paralysis, problems with balance, unintentional shaking (tremors)
How is this diagnosed?
Your health care provider can diagnose MS with the help of imaging exams and lab tests which may include spinal fluid tests extracted via lumbar puncture (spinal tap). The best radiology test to confirm a diagnosis of MS is an MRI.
How is this treated?
There is no known cure for MS, but currently the State of Florida does allow for our physicians to prescribe medical cannabis for the treatment for MS. There are medicines that can decrease the amount of attacks. Steroids are often used for treatment. Physical and occupational therapy play a role.
Follow these instructions at home:
· Take medicines as directed by your health care provider.
· Exercise as directed by your health care provider.
Contact a health care provider and get help right away if:
· You develop paralysis.
· You have problems with bladder, bowel, or sexual function.
· You develop mental changes, such as forgetfulness or mood swings.
· You have a period of uncontrolled movements (seizure).
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.