Individuals affected with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis are advised to observe their symptoms as it progresses.
Defined as a chronic condition, multiple sclerosis (MS) is an ailment where the immune system attacks the protective layer around the nerve fibers, the myelin sheath. Sclerosis causes inflammation, and the development of lesions causes neuronal scarring. MS does not have a fixed cure, but its symptoms can be effectively managed through proper treatment and rehabilitation.
Relapsing-remitting MS accounts for more than 85 percent of cases. It involves relapses (acute episodes) of the diseases followed by remissions.
It has been observed that 80 percent of relapsing-remitting sclerosis cases progress eventually to progressive MS. The relapses and remissions, which used to come and go, may progressively worsen after 15 to 20 years.
Why does RRMS progress to progressive MS?
Medical professionals have not yet understood the causes behind the progression of the ailment but believe that the deterioration occurs due to the injury caused to the nerve fibers at the early stages of the ailment.
Some of the key points observed by professionals are:
- The older the age of the person when the condition is observed, the shorter the time it takes for the disease to become secondary progressive
- Individuals who cannot recover from relapses move faster into secondary progressive MS
It is difficult to diagnose whether MS has progressed, but the following symptoms indicate a progression:
- Aggravating the symptoms
- Difficulty coordinating
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Fatigue, depression, and difficulty thinking and performing daily functions
Individuals affected with relapsing-remitting MS are advised to observe their symptoms as it progresses.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
The optic nerve, nerve fibers, and spinal cord get damaged during multiple sclerosis, which is caused by the immune system. However, medical professionals believe there can be a potential virus or toxin that triggers the immune system and makes it dysfunctional. Demyelination causes chronic inflammation leading to scar tissue and lasting neurological impairment.
Multiple sclerosis produces a varied range of symptoms, and due to the nature of the ailment, it can produce mild to severe symptoms in people.
Some of the common symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis are:
- Difficulty walking, including numbness in feet, difficulty balancing, muscle spasticity, and vision problems
- Problem with vision leads to optic neuritis, nystagmus, diplopia, and blindness
- Mild to severe speech problems
- Pain and tremors
- Problems with bladder control
Treatment of multiple sclerosis
Drugs used to treat progressive multiple sclerosis are called disease-modifying drugs (DMDs).
DMDs help limit the number of relapses and alleviate some of the symptoms.
The drugs include Mayzent (siponimod), Novantrone (mitoxantrone), and Mavenclad (cladribine). These medications may help produce desired results, but they tend to cause serious side effects. A drug called methotrexate can be used to aid the condition.
Medications and tweaking certain lifestyle habits help manage the condition.
- For an individual affected with multiple sclerosis, it gets difficult to physically move. Following a light exercise regime can boost the condition of the affected. Specific yoga classes are designed to aid patients with multiple sclerosis. Even light swimming or exercising underwater can help manage symptoms.
- Diet can aid overall health. Consuming a balanced diet that is low on unwanted calories and rich in fibers and nutrients is generally advised for individuals with multiple sclerosis.
- It is recommended to consume fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, fats, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
- Consume a lot of fluids, especially water and fresh juices. Avoid trans and saturated fats, red meats, foods and beverages rich in sugar and sodium, and highly processed foods.
- Supplements can be consumed, but medical advice should be sought first.
It is difficult to cure multiple sclerosis, but early diagnosis and proper treatment and care help manage health and alleviate symptoms effectively.