A glitch in the brain: understanding multiple sclerosis
What is multiple sclerosis?

MS is a chronic condition of the central nervous system [CNS]. It is characterized by disruption of neuronal signals within the body and brain - leading to mild to severe disability. It is believed to be caused by the breakdown of myelin sheath — a layer around neurons that helps them conduct information quickly and efficiently — in brain cells.

Who gets MS?

There is no known cause for multiple sclerosis; it can affect anybody. However, according to the National Institute of Health, UK, this condition usually affects people in their 20s and 30s, with a two to three times higher risk in women than in men.

In India, the mean age of people living with MS, as recorded by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) registry, is slightly higher at 33 years, give or take nine years. According to the AIIMS data, the male to female prevalence ratio in India is 0.65.

In “Multiple Sclerosis: An overview”, published in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, Dr Bhim Singh Singhal, director of neurology at the Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences, wrote that with wider availability of MRI scans, the number of MS diagnosis in India is on the rise. Still, the country-wide prevalence is hard to gauge as advanced medical facilities and the collection of epidemiological data continue to pose challenges in many rural and semi-urban areas.

Some factors that increase the risk of multiple sclerosis include:

• Genetics/family history
• Age and gender
• Environmental factors such as smoking and vitamin D deficiency
• According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, U.S., immigration to a particular area predisposes the person to the MS risk factors of that area
• Though it might show up immediately in children, adults are more likely to transfer the risk to the next-generation rather than have the condition themselves

Symptoms

MS symptoms can vary from one individual to another, and in the same individual over time. The primary symptoms include tingling sensation and numbness in the body, fatigue, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty walking, depression and reduced cognition.

Apart from this, MS is also associated with secondary, lifestyle problems like bladder infections because of repeated UTIs, pressure sores, weakness, decreased bone density and loss of muscle mass due to inactivity. Depression and social isolation comprise the tertiary symptoms of MS.

Source: https://www.firstpost.com/health/a-glitch-in-the-brain-understanding-multiple-sclerosis-7219991.html
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