Multiple sclerosis (MS) can be a complicated and frustrating disease with unpredictable symptoms of varying intensity. Everything from fatigue and numbness to paralysis, vision loss, and diminished brain function can be experienced by victims of this disease. Affecting an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide, the disease affects women twice more often than men, according to the National MS Society.
Here are some of the symptoms experienced by the targets of this disease :
- Partial or complete loss of vision and pain when you move your eye
- Prolonged double vision
- Tingling or pain in parts of your body
- Electric-shock sensations that occur when you move your neck, especially forward
- Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
- Slurred speech
- Problems with bowel and bladder function
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time, or the legs.
This is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. However, the causes of this disease are largely unknown although some attribute it to genetics, the environment and even viruses. A genetic study has pinpointed a cluster of genes on chromosome 6 as the culprit causing the disorder. The immune system malfunction in MS destroys myelin (the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord).
These are some factors that may increase your risk of being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis:
- Age – Although it can occur at any age, MS is seen most commonly affecting people between the age group of 15 and 60.
- Family history – One of your parents or siblings having MS, puts you at higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
- Certain infections – Many viruses have been linked to this disease. Epstein-Barr, is one of the virus that causes infectious mononucleosisis.
- Race – People of Northern European descent, are at a highest risk of developing multiple sclerosis. People of Asian, African or Native American descent face the lowest risk.
- Climate – This disease is far more common in countries like Canada, United States, New Zealand, southeastern family Australia and Europe which largely have a temperate climate.
- Other auto-immune diseases – Having thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease puts you at a slightly higher risk of developing MS.
Relapses of this disease can get worse, more unpredictable and come with different symptoms as they occur more and more. Detecting this disease at an early stage can only lead to prevent MS from progressing quickly. Although a cure is yet to be found, many treatments that exist now can help slow the disease’s progression. The best option to fight this disease is to visit your doctor immediately and get diagnosed, especially if someone in your family already has it.