Consequences of Myelin Destruction in Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory disease that primarily affects the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system of the body Ė CNS). In later stages of the disease, multiple sclerosis can involve virtually any innervated section of the body (body parts which contain structures of agglomerated nerve terminations). By affecting the nerve fibers which have the role to transmit signals between the central nervous system and all the innervated organs, multiple sclerosis can cause a multitude of impairments at various levels of the body. When multiple sclerosis involves more parts of the body, the generated symptoms greatly vary in terms of type and intensity, rendering the process of diagnosing the disease very problematic.
Although the progression of multiple sclerosis can be efficiently controlled and its produced symptoms can be alleviated, the already existent damage canít be reversed with medical treatments. Thus, the speed and accuracy of diagnosis play crucial roles in preventing the development of further complications and also increase the efficiency of the specific medication treatments.
All the undesirable effects produced by multiple sclerosis occur due to destruction of myelin, a substance that surrounds the cells of the nervous system. The main role of myelin is to facilitate the transmission of nerve signals at the level of central nervous system and between the CNS and all the other nerves spread throughout the body. Myelin also has the role to protect nerve cells, forming a coating that surrounds their surface. In most cases, the destruction of myelin characteristic to multiple sclerosis takes place fast and generates a wide range of dysfunctions of the nervous system. The process of myelin destruction is irreversible and most existing medical treatments can only slow down this process, being unable to stop it.
Due to the fact that multiple sclerosis can cause a multitude of dysfunctions in various sections of the body, the type, intensity and duration of symptoms differ from a patient to another. Patients with multiple sclerosis may experience numbness, tingling or pain in the muscles, muscular weakness and fatigue, muscular spasms, decreased visual acuity, blurred and double vision, frequent urination, constipation, decreased sexual function, poor balance, nausea, short-term memory loss, decreased judgment, poor concentration, and so on. The list of multiple sclerosis symptoms is very long and such manifestations may either occur together or separately, depending on the levels of the nervous system which are affected by the disease.
The good news is that patients with multiple sclerosis who receive the adequate medical treatment can regain control of their bodies and live active, normal lives. Although they canít reverse the already existing nerve damage nor completely cure the disease, most multiple sclerosis treatments can substantially alleviate symptoms and prevent the occurrence of severe complications.
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