6 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis

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6 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis
6 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis

Video: 6 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis

Video: 6 Myths About Multiple Sclerosis
Video: 6 Surprising Facts About Multiple Sclerosis 2023, December

6 myths about multiple sclerosis

Contrary to popular belief, multiple sclerosis (MS) is not associated with sclerotic changes in the walls of blood vessels, or with age-related forgetfulness and problems with concentration. This is an autoimmune disease. The pathological process is expressed in the degradation of the nervous tissue and destruction of the outer layer of nerve fibers, consisting of myelin. The result of the development of the disease is multiple lesions of the nervous system, manifested by decreased vision, rapid fatigue, impaired coordination of movements, tremors, muscle weakness, decreased peripheral sensitivity, and local paresis. In severe cases, deterioration in the functioning of the pelvic organs (retention of stool and urination, urinary incontinence, etc.), the appearance of neuroses, depression, hysteria, or, conversely, euphoric conditions, combined with a decrease in intelligence, are possible.

Multiple sclerosis is a deadly disease. Is it so?
Multiple sclerosis is a deadly disease. Is it so?

Source: depositphotos.com

Multiple sclerosis is a fairly common pathology: in the world there are more than 2 million people suffering from it. There are several described forms of MS, but the set of symptoms, severity and specificity of the course of the disease are individual for each patient.

While MS is not considered a rare condition, most people are new to its features. We will try to dispel some of the myths that have developed around this disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a deadly disease

This is not true. The most severe forms of sclerosis, accompanied by serious damage to the central nervous system, are relatively rare. In addition, modern drugs can significantly improve the condition of patients. Unfortunately, the situation is complicated by the fact that the clinical manifestations of MS often appear late, when about half of all nerve fibers are already damaged. In such cases, the start of treatment is delayed, which negatively affects the result.

The use of modern medicines and the improvement of living standards have a beneficial effect on the condition of people with MS. Despite the fact that cases of complete cure are unknown, the progression of the pathological process can usually be slowed down. In general, the life expectancy of patients with multiple sclerosis in developed countries does not differ from that of their peers who have escaped this disease.

MS patients are doomed to immobility

It is believed that every person with multiple sclerosis, in the long term, has a wheelchair and complete helplessness. In reality, forecasts can be much more optimistic: with early diagnosis and timely initiation of adequate treatment, disability may not occur. Of course, a lot depends on the individual characteristics of the course of the disease, but most people with MS manage to retain the ability to move independently, take care of themselves and live as usual.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of old age

Quite the opposite: the onset of the disease usually falls within the age interval between 10 and 50 years. There are three times more girls with MS among children than boys, but in older age groups the number of men and women among patients is almost the same. In the fairer sex, the disease manifests itself on average 1.5-2 years earlier than in their male peers, but in the latter, the disease is more active and takes on more severe forms.

The cause of the onset of multiple sclerosis is still unknown, only risk factors have been studied:

  • ethnic (racial) affiliation. Europeans suffer from MS more often than Africans, and the Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans are almost never diagnosed with MS;
  • region of residence (the so-called "latitudinal gradient"). People who live north of the 30th parallel are at highest risk of developing MS. For the inhabitants of other regions of the Earth, this parameter is gradually decreasing in the direction from north to south. The minimum number of cases was recorded in the southern parts of the African and South American continents, as well as in Australia;
  • stress. There are observations confirming the increased incidence of multiple sclerosis among representatives of "nervous" professions (air traffic controllers, firefighters, pilots, etc.);
  • smoking;
  • genetics. A family history of MS increases the risk of developing the disease tenfold. However, the disease is not considered hereditary, since its appearance is usually caused by many factors.

Women with MS should not get pregnant

Multiple sclerosis is not an obstacle to carrying a child. In contrast, many women with MS experience significant relief during pregnancy, and many years of remission may ensue after the baby is born.

The illness of the expectant mother does not in any way affect the development of the fetus and the health of the newborn. The only problem is taking medications prescribed for MS, as some of them cannot be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, the patient must necessarily consult with the attending physician even before conception and the entire period of gestation should be under his supervision.

People with MS should avoid physical activity

For a long time, doctors really believed that playing sports was harmful to people with multiple sclerosis. Numerous studies have proven that this is not the case: patients can and should exercise moderate physical activity (of course, dosed taking into account the manifestations of the disease). Specially selected aerobic exercise complexes are very useful for MS patients: in most cases, they reduce the severity of symptoms. Patients are also shown hiking, swimming and just outdoor recreation.

The multiple sclerosis myth: sufferers can't keep working
The multiple sclerosis myth: sufferers can't keep working

Source: depositphotos.com

People with MS are unable to continue working

Many people with MS, thanks to adequate treatment for decades, maintain not only their usual lifestyle, but also the physical and mental activity that allows them to successfully perform work duties. Even the onset of disability does not always become a reason for leaving work, especially since labor legislation obliges employers to provide such employees with working conditions that take into account the specifics of their condition. Therefore, most people with MS who are of working age are not in danger of being thrown to the sidelines.

Multiple sclerosis is a severe progressive disease, but not a death sentence. By following the instructions of the attending physician, the patient may well remain an active, self-sufficient and successful person. It is important not to give up, to maintain an optimistic view of the world, and maintaining a normal standard of living will be quite a solvable task.

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Maria Kulkes
Maria Kulkes

Maria Kulkes Medical journalist About the author

Education: First Moscow State Medical University named after I. M. Sechenov, specialty "General Medicine".

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