The Effects Of Multiple-Sclerosis On The Body
Multiple-sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating disease which has a profound effect on the bodies of those who suffer from it. MS is neurodegenerative which means it breaks down the central nervous system. While the exact cause of MS is still unknown, doctors now believe genetics, environment and even certain viruses play a role. MS negatively affects nearly every part of the body from head to toe starting with the brain.
MS Affects the Brain and the Eyes
The nerves in the brain have a protective covering called a Myelin Sheath. MS breaks down this protective coating which makes it difficult for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. The end result is vertigo, dizziness, erratic emotions, confusion and forgetfulness. MS can trigger cognitive issues such as seizures and tremors. MS also affects the eyes causing pain, blurring, double vision and poor contrast.
MS and the Tongue
40% of people with MS will have difficulty speaking at some point. MS can cause slurring and effect volume and pitch control. MS can also damage the smooth muscles of the esophagus and the pharynx. Once this happens, swallowing becomes difficult, resulting in coughing and choking. MS also weakens the trunk muscles which can make breathing difficult and painful.
The Effects of MS on Mobility
MS causes brittle bones which are easily to broken. It may also cause osteoporosis and nutrient deficiencies within the skeleton. The extensive nerve damage can affect the gait which is the way a person walks. Many MS patients become dependent upon canes or even wheelchairs. The joints are also affected by this disease and an individual’s coordination may suffer greatly making it difficult to run or play sports.
Other Effects of MS
In women, MS increases the chances of cardiovascular issues such as stroke and heart attack. The nerve damage caused by this debilitating disease can also lead to poor hand-eye coordination, making simple tasks extremely difficult. MS also negatively affects the reproductive system, causing sexual dysfunction and a loss of sensation. MS can cause emotional problems which may interfere with an individual’s sex life. MS has no effect on fertility and pregnant women even experience a reduction in the disease’s symptoms.
80% of people with MS experience problems with their bowels and bladder. MS may cause urinary tract infections and bladder infections. Some MS patients also suffer from diarrhea, constipation and upset stomach. Vomiting is another common side effect for many MS patients.
There is no cure for MS as of yet but there are treatments that may allow a patient to live a more productive life. Certain drug cocktails may slow the progression of the disease and help to control flare ups. “The New England Journal of Medicine” published a study where people with relapsing MS showed less disease progression and less chance of annual relapses when taking teriflunomide once a day.