Multiple Sclerosis

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  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
    • Symptoms
      • Fatigue
      • Numbness
      • Memory problems
      • Poor concentration
      • Balance/coordination problems
      • Muscle stifness
      • Spasms
      • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
      • Problems with thinking, learning and planning
    • Causes
      • GENETIC
        • those with relatives with MS are more likely to develop it
      • ENVIRONMENTAL TRIGGERS
        • lack of sunlight and vitamin D
        • those who smoke are twice as likely to develop MS
      • VIRAL TRIGGERS
        • some infections may trigger the immune system, leading to MS
      • AUTO-IMMUNE
        • immune system attacks itself
      • DEMYELINATION
        • immune system attacks the myelin sheath surrounding the axon and disrupts the messages travelling along the nerves
    • Diagnosis
      • NEUROLOGICAL TESTS
        • look for abnormalities or weaknesses in vision, eye movements, hand or leg strength, balance and coordination, speech and reflexes
      • BLOOD TESTS
        • used to rule out other causes of symptoms (e.g. vitamin deficiencies)
      • CLINICAL OBSERVATION
        • looks at how person functions and identifies effects of potential dysfunction
      • LUMBAR PUNCTURE
        • remove a sample of spinal fluid; changes in fluid can suggest problems with nervous system; fluid sample tested for immune cells and antibodies
      • MRI SCAN
        • uses strong magnetic fields to produce detailed images of the body; shows any damage or scarring of myelin sheath in brain and spinal chord
    • Treatment
      • currently NO CURE, but possible to treat symptoms
      • MEDICATION
        • Steroids = reduce nerve tissue inflammation and used in treatment of relapses
        • Muscle relaxants = ease muscle spasms
      • PHSIOTHERAPY
        • help with pain and mobility problems
      • SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPY
        • help with speech and swallowing problems
      • SURGERY
        • to stop tremors
      • LIFESTYLE CHANGES
        • stop smoking
        • eat healthy
        • regular exercise
        • regular vaccinations
    • Lifestyle Effects
      • lack of understanding of problems associated and causes of MS
      • increased knowledge of condition
      • poor personal hygiene
      • depression and frustration of symptoms
      • strain on social relationships
      • stress, low self-esteem, isolation, dis-empowerment, fear
      • may have to stop working
      • problems doing daily tasks
      • problems accessing buildings and public transport
      • side effects from drugs
      • painful treatments and surgical procedures
      • increased frequency of medical appointments

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