The central nervous system, or brain and spinal cord, are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS), a condition that could be permanently immobilising. Myelin, the protecting coating that protects nerve fibres, is attacked by the immune system in MS, which impairs brain-to-body communication. The condition may eventually result in nerve degeneration or irreversible impairment.
Although scientists are unsure of the actual origin of MS, they do believe It is a central nervous system-specific autoimmune disease (CNS). The immune system targets normal tissues when a person has an autoimmune disease, just as it could attack a virus or bacteria.
In MS, inflammation results from the immune system attacking the myelin sheath, which covers and shields the nerve fibres. The nerves' ability to swiftly and effectively conduct electrical signals is enabled by myelin.
What are the symptoms?
Depending on where the damaged nerve fibres are located, the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary widely from person to person and during the course of the disease.
Movement is frequently affected by symptoms like:
- Your legs and torso may experience numbness or weakness, which normally affects one side of your body at a time.
- Some neck movements, notably extending the neck forward, can feel electric-shock-like (Lhermitte sign)
- Absence of coordination, trembling, or difficulty walking
Additionally, there are vision issues, such as:
- Partial or total blindness, usually affecting just one eye at a time, is frequently accompanied by pain when moving the eye
- Long-lasting double vision
- Hazy vision
Additional signs of multiple sclerosis include:
- Slurring when speaking
- Tingle or discomfort in some body parts
- Issues with bowels, bladder, and sexual functionality
What are the different stages of MS?
MS exists in four different forms:
1. Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)
A single, first-episode condition known as a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) is one in which the symptoms endure for at least 24 hours. Relapse-remitting MS may be identified by a clinician if a further episode develops.
2. Primary progressive MS (PPMS)
The symptoms of primary progressive MS (PPMS) develop over time without early relapses or remissions. Some people could go through periods of stability as well as times when their symptoms get worse before getting better. About 15% of MS patients also have PPMS.
3. Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS)
Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most prevalent type. Approximately 85% of MS cases are first identified as RRMS. In RRMS, there are periods of remission, during which the symptoms either completely or partially disappear, followed by episodes of new or worsening symptoms.
4. Secondary progressive MS (SPMS)
The condition has progressed to secondary progressive MS if the relapsing-remitting condition reaches a point when there are no obvious relapses and remissions. Everyone who has secondary progressive MS had a relapsing-remitting disease course at the start of their illness. Without any recovery, the symptoms of secondary progressive MS build up and get worse.
Can you drive if you have MS?
Physical symptoms might make it challenging to control the steering wheel, utilise the gearshift, or press the gas and brake pedals in your automobile. Cognitive symptoms may make it more difficult for you to control your emotions, have slower response times, or get disoriented.
The negative effects of several MS drugs, such as sleepiness or lack of focus, are also possible. Driving impairment might be a result of these adverse effects. Hence, it is best to speak to your doctor and understand if your symptoms are limited enough to make driving safe and easy.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.