by Rick Alan
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system. It is a chronic condition that can be disabling.
There are several types of MS:
The immune system normally attacks viruses or bacteria that should not be in the body. With MS, a problem with the immune system causes it to attack healthy nerves. In particular, MS attacks the nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and the nerves of the eye. The exact cause of these immune problems is unknown.
The following may contribute to the development of MS:
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that increase your chance of MS include:
Other factors that may play a role include:
Symptoms may range from mild to severe and may include:
Symptoms may worsen with:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include:
The goals of MS treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent relapses, delay disability, and slow disease progression.
Medicines may include:
Other medications may also be given to treat symptoms:
Physical Therapies and Lifestyle Changes
Therapies and changes may include:
Individual or group therapy will help you learn coping strategies for physical symptoms and emotional stress.
If you are diagnosed with MS, follow your doctor's instructions.
There are no guidelines for preventing MS because the cause is unknown.
To prevent flare-ups or worsening symptoms if you have MS:
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
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1/4/2011 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Healy B, Ali E, Guttmann C, et al. Smoking and disease progression in multiple sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 2009;66(7):858-864.
1/4/2011 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: FDA approves Botox to treat spasticity in flexor muscles of the elbow, wrist and fingers. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov.... Updated March 9, 2010. Accessed March 19, 2010.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: US Food and Drug Administration. FDA approves first oral drug to reduce MS relapses. US Food and Drug Administration website. Available at: http://www.fda.gov.... Published September 22, 2010. Accessed September 24, 2010.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Kang JH, Sheu JJ, Kao S, Lin HC. Increased risk of multiple sclerosis following herpes zoster: a nationwide, population-based study. J Infect Dis. 2011;204(2):188-92.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 09/30/2012
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