Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease. In autoimmune diseases, the defense mechanism of body starts to destroy its own tissues. These diseases are more common in females.

Symptoms:

Problems with vision ( loss of vision or double vision), weakness of one side of body, weakness of both legs, weakness of both legs and arms or problems with balance.

Cause:

It is caused by body’s defense system attacking and damaging the nervous system.

Treatment:

Treatment at start of disease usually consists of intravenous high-dose steroid therapy that usually lasts for 5 days. Patient needs to be admitted in hospital. Brain or spinal cord MRI needs to be done. Sometimes lumbar puncture is necessary. Patient is put on oral medicines or injections at discharge and these should be continued until you see your doctor back.

Recovery:

Recovery from sudden attack of disease is usually good. However, some patients get repeated attacks of the disease. In these patients, long term treatment with oral drugs or injections is necessary. The aim of long term treatment is to prevent the disease attacks and slow down the disease process.

Physiotherapy:

If the patient has weakness of his arms or legs or has problems with balancing then physiotherapy is must. It can help a great deal in achieving and maintaining the mobility.

Diet:

There are no specific dietary recommendations for the multiple sclerosis but it is better to avoid fatty foods like red meat, butter, cheese and other foods that contain saturated fat. Some studies also suggest that cow or buffalo milk is not good for multiple sclerosis patients.  Patients need to eat balanced diet and stay active.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What kind of life I will live with multiple sclerosis?

Stay positive. In majority of patients the disease progresses very slowly. Medicines used to treat multiple sclerosis are very good in preventing attacks and slowing down disease process.
So you can have almost normal life quality if you stick to the treatment and follow your doctor’s advice properly.

Do I need multivitamins?

You can take vitamin D and vitamin B after consultation with your doctor.

Should I exercise?

Well you can exercise and it will help you to improve your fitness and strength in your arms and legs.

Does temperature affect multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis symptoms may get worse in very high or low temperatures. Patients are advised to stay in comfortable temperature.

Does stress worsen multiple sclerosis?

Stress may worsen multiple sclerosis. Avoid overthinking and stay active and happy.

How to take care of bedridden or wheelchair bound patient?

Please see section on “taking care of paralyzed patients

How long does the treatment last?

Those patients who have more than one disease attacks usually need to take the drugs for longer period of time. Treatment my last years. Sometimes the patient with just one attack showing disease burden on MRI may be prescribed long term treatment.

How often do I need to see the doctor?

You should see the doctor immediately when you experience any new attack of the disease. If you are stable and taking your drug treatment regularly then you may see doctor every 2-3 months or as advised by your doctor.

Can I get pregnant?

Yes you can get pregnant but you need to talk to your doctor before you try to conceive. Certain drugs used in treatment of multiple sclerosis are not safe for baby and your doctor may substitute them or discontinue them. Your doctor may even stop treatment of multiple sclerosis during pregnancy but you need to see your doctor first.

Disclaimer:
The information given here is intended for use of general public . It should not be taken as standard medical reference.

About the Author:

One of the most well known neurologists in Lahore, he is serving as Assistant Professor of Neurology at Lahore General Hospital. He is a graduate of King Edward Medical College and did residency in general medicine & neurology at Mayo Hospital Lahore. He did FCPS in neurology and moved to Lahore General Hospital, and has been working there since.

One Comment

  1. Raheel July 23, 2020 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Excellent information for patients. Keep it up

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