Raise Your Awareness of MS Symptoms and Treatment
March is MS Education and Awareness Month. MS, or multiple sclerosis, is a disease that results in disruption of the myelin that protects nerve cells in the spine and brain. While no specific cause has been identified, women are at a higher risk than men. Additionally, being between the ages of 15 and 45 also increases risk. Learn more about MS, including its symptoms and current treatment options.
The symptoms of MS can vary from person to person. It is often difficult to predict because the symptoms can change as time goes on. Some of the most common symptoms people experience include:
- Weakness or tingling
- Changes in vision
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pregnancy problems
- Painful, uncontrollable muscle contractions
- Spastic muscles
- Difficulty walking
MS Treatment Options
While multiple sclerosis cannot be cured, there are several treatment options that can help people who suffer from MS to manage their symptoms and maintain a good quality of life.
Treatment for MS attacks includes corticosteroids or plasmapheresis. Corticosteroids can help reduce inflammation in the nerves; however, there are some side effects to consider, such as increased blood pressure, fluid retention, changes in mood, and insomnia. Plasmapheresis removes the liquid part of your blood and separates it from your blood cells. Those cells are then mixed with a protein solution called albumin. This type of treatment is best for people who have recently developed symptoms and have not found help in steroids.
Physical therapy is another great way to manage your MS symptoms by learning proper exercises to strengthen and stretch your muscles. If you suffer from leg weakness or problems walking, there are mobility aids that can help. Your doctor may also suggest muscle relaxants to help reduce the pain caused by spasms or stiffness in the legs.
Depending on which symptoms you experience personally, your doctor may recommend one or a combination of these MS treatment options, as well as other medications that offer relief from the variety of other symptoms that can present themselves with MS. Speak with your physician to determine the best route for your needs.