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MS is a long-lasting disease described as a chronic and progressive autoimmune disorder. It is diagnosed when a person encounters multiple neurologic symptoms and disabilities over time. The exact causes are not yet known, but it may be triggered by genetic predisposition, women and people living closer to the North and South Poles are more likely to be affected by the disorder.
First symptoms of MS are most often registered between 20 and 40 years old and start when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the central nervous system.
Although each person's experience is unique, there are a few courses the disorder may take. According to Knowledge Diffusion Inc (DBA Osmosis), MS can be:
1. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), with periodic attacks (relapses) of the central nervous system followed by partial or total recovery (remission).
2. Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) is characterised by taking a progressing course after a previous relapse and remission and it can have active or inactive phases, both with and without progression. This type is usually following a RRMS.
3. Primary progressive MS (PPMS) is diagnosed when the symptoms and disabilities are accumulating gradually with no previous attacks on the central nervous system.
4. Progressive-relapsing MS (PRMS), with periodic attacks and progressive course in between them.
Many Multiple sclerosis symptoms are similar to other disorders, which can mask the disorder and make it difficult to detect. In addition, there is no single test to determine whether it is MS, so the diagnosis can include blood tests, MRI, brain activity tests, tests on the levels of antibodies in the cerebrospinal fluid and more.
For more information please read diagnosing multiple sclerosis from NHS.
Currently there is no cure for MS, but there are medications to lessen the severity of relapses, make them less frequent (mainly in cases of RRMS) or to help with individual symptoms in case of a progressive form.
For more information about how to treat MS please contact an expert physician.
Living with long-term conditions can be challenging at times and people can benefit enormously from being supported by an expert carer (or live-in care). Typically, it is at least one annual review of symptoms and treatment. Regular activity and exercise are important for both general health and fitness, including reducing fatigue and improving strength, mobility, and bladder function for people with MS.
A helping hand can also lead to a longer, more joyful life.