Preguntas frecuentes sobre la esclerosis múltiple

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic medical disorder that affects many people. 20 and 40 years. And women have the double the possibilities of having the disease than men.

MS can sometimes be a scary and precarious diagnosis, but correct treatment will be helpful in controlling symptoms. Here you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about MS.

What is MS?

MS is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissues. In this case, it is the nerves and myelin, which are part of the protective layer that covers the nerve fibers in the spinal cord and brain. Myelin helps your brain and spinal cord, which are parts of the central nervous system (CNS), communicate with the rest of your body.

Watch: How MS affects the central nervous system >>

When the immune system attacks these electrical conduits, this can cause scarring, called sclerosis, in the CNS. Your symptoms depend on where the scars are located in the CNS. Over time, MS can cause permanent nerve damage.

There are several types of MS, the most common being fall-remitting MS. Of all the people who have MS, 8 out of 10 of them will have relapsing-remitting MS. Fall-remitting MS means that the symptoms can appear and disappear. An outbreak or MS attack It means that you have the symptoms in an active form. A remission is a period of time in which your body feels like it did before the flare-up, but it doesn’t mean your symptoms go away completely.

Is MS genetic?

no hay a specific gene that causes MS and makes parents pass it on to their children, but you could inherit how likely you are to get MS.

Research shows that several genes may play a role in the development of MS. In fact, a variation in a gene known as HLA-DRB1 is the most important genetic risk factor for the incidence of MS. This genetic variation could play a role in how the immune system attacks the myelin sheath and the nerves.

What are the signs and symptoms of MS?

MS can cause a variety of symptoms and they may be different for each person.

Early symptoms of MS may include:

  • Blurred vision, double vision, or eye pain with movement
  • Muscle weakness in the hands and legs.
  • Stiff muscles with spasms
  • Numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms, legs, face, or torso.
  • Difficulties with balance
  • dizziness
  • urinary problems

Some symptoms of MS may develop later and include:

  • Feeling physical and mental fatigue (this can occur with early symptoms when an MS attack begins)
  • Mood changes
  • Concentration problems, learning difficulties or memory deficiencies

Is race a risk factor for MS?

MS has typically been a medical disorder that affects white people who have European ancestors. People who have Hispanic and Asian ancestors are much less likely of having MS than white people of European ancestry.

But recently, scientists have observed a increase in MS in black people. In fact, there are probably more black people, particularly black women, who have MS than we previously thought. MS also affects black people differently than white people, but scientists still don’t know why. Environmental and social factors such as medical inequalities could be a reason, as well as the fact that black people do not participate in clinical trials as frequently as white people.

Why is it so difficult to get an MS diagnosis?

There is no specific test to diagnose MS. Instead, health care providers (HCPs) use a variety of tests to obtain a diagnosis. MS testing could include:

  • Blood tests
  • A lumbar puncture, which collects a sample of fluid from your spinal cord, to try to detect antibodies related to MS.
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to find areas of MS, known as lesions, in your brain or spinal cord.
  • Evoked potential tests that record the electrical signals that your nervous system sends when it reacts to stimuli

It can be difficult to get a diagnosis, especially if you have unusual symptoms or if your MS has progressed. Your symptoms could be ambiguous or they could be similar to those of other disorders, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.

Who could make up your MS care team?

You don’t have to face MS alone. If you have MS, your care team may have many medical providers, stories like:

  • Your primary healthcare provider
  • A neurologist or a doctor who specializes in the nervous system.
  • A mental health provider who will help you manage the mental and emotional side effects of MS.
  • Physical or occupational therapists who will help you with exercises and manage your daily activities
  • Nurses who will help coordinate your care
  • Other specialists who will help treat MS symptoms, such as eye care providers or urologists who will help you manage urinary symptoms.

Lee: Beyond the physical. How MS affects your life >>

How is MS treated?

There are several treatments for MS. Some MS treatments They are useful in slowing the progress of the disease, which is also called “modifying the progression of the disease.” Others are helpful in stopping attacks (also called flares or relapses).

Treatments to slow the progression of MS can be of several types, including:

  • Injectable treatments
  • Oral treatments
  • Infusions

The treatments to stop MS attacks or relapses include:

  • corticosteroids
  • serum exchange
  • a highly purified form of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)

You can also use medications to treat specific symptoms, such as bladder problems, fatigue, or pain.

What happens if MS is not treated?

There is no cure for MS. but if you do not receive treatment, you may not recover as quickly from attacks and managing your symptoms may be difficult. Not treating MS could also accelerate damage to your nervous system.

Without treatment, people who have relapsing-remitting MS could derail Secondary progressive MS according to a 2019 study. Secondary progressive MS It is the stage after MS with relapses and remissions. In this type, symptoms worsen and the tendency is not to have a complete recovery during remissions after the flare ends.

If you live with MS, it is important to take care of yourself to manage your symptoms. Stay in close communication with your healthcare provider so you know how you’re feeling and how treatments are working. Be sure to ask questions so you feel like you know everything about your diagnosis.

This educational resource was prepared with the support of Novartis

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