The sclerosis multiple (MS) is a chronic, often disabling, affecting the central nervous system. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be mild. Such as numbness in the limbs, or severe, such as loss of vision; the progress and severity of this disease’s symptoms are unpredictable and vary from individual to individual. In this article, we will give a complete guide about the symptoms of ms in women. In multiple sclerosis, there is an attack of the immune system against the central nervous system.
Several researchers believe that multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease; some specialists disagree with this definition, as the specific target of multiple sclerosis has not yet been identified. Among the nerve components susceptible to attack by the immune system, there is mainly myelin. Even today, people living with multiple sclerosis cannot count on a specific cure; however, there are many drugs and other treatments available to them that have proven effective in controlling the disease.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a neurodegenerative disease of a chronic nature, which affects the central nervous system (which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optical nerves). Often disabling, multiple sclerosis appears to be, according to most experts, an autoimmune disease; to characterize this disease, in fact, is the aggression operated by the immune system against the central nervous system.
More precisely, multiple sclerosis attacks and damages first of all myelin, which is the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers in the central nervous system, is involved in the correct transmission of nerve signals to various components the central nervous system. Since the damage, it produces to myelin leads to the permanent deterioration of this fatty substance, in the long run, experts describe multiple sclerosis as a demyelinating disease.
Why is it called multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is called this because, in the various areas where it is damaged (multiple), the myelin of those suffering from this disease develops scar tissue (sclerosis) in place of the normal tissue component.
Meaning of sclerosis
In medicine, the term “sclerosis” indicates a process of hardening of an organ, or a considerable part of it, due to the increase of “scar tissue” ( connective- fibrous) and to the regression of normal parenchymal tissue.
Epidemiology: Symptoms of MS in Women
Multiple sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disease with central nervous system effects. Prevalence epidemiological studies have shown that multiple sclerosis is more common in Northern Europe, North America, Southeast Australia, and New Zealand. At the same time, it is less common in Tropical and Subtropical regions. For reasons yet to be clarified, multiple sclerosis is 2 to 3 times more common in women than in men.
Normally, most diagnoses of multiple sclerosis occur between the ages of 20 and 50, which means that the disease tends to arise at this stage in the human being’s life. This is most likely due to improved diagnostic techniques and increased knowledge of the disease.
Symptoms of ms in women(Multiple sclerosis)
In multiple sclerosis, damage to the central nervous system’s myelin interferes with the brain’s transmission of nerve signals. This alteration of nerve transmission causes multiple sclerosis’s primary symptoms, varying depending on where the damage occurs. During the course of the disease, some symptoms come and go, while others may be more lasting.
Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Tiredness, fatigue, and weakness. Found in about 80% of patients, the sense of fatigue is such that it can seriously interfere with the activities of the affected person, both at work and home;
- Sense of numbness in the face, body, and/or extremities (limbs);
- Difficulty in walking, disturbances of coordination, and balance problems ;
- Bladder disorders. They may include urgency to urinate, urinary incontinence, and difficulty in completely emptying the bladder ( urinary retention );
- Visual disturbances. They can consist of blurred vision, nystagmus, optic neuritis, impaired color vision, pain in the eyes when moving, and loss of vision.
- For many people with multiple sclerosis, visual disturbances are the first symptom of the disease;
- Vertigo. They are related to balance problems;
- Sensitivity disturbances. They can consist of an alteration of touch and a reduction in sensitivity to heat, cold, and pain ;
- Pain. It affects just over 50% of patients and can consist of acute but transient sensations, tenuous but chronic sensations, heartburn, musculoskeletal pain, or tension.
- The sites most involved are the back, abdomen, and face.
- Cognitive disturbances. They affect more than 50% of patients and may consist of memory and learning problems, difficulty maintaining concentration, attention difficulties, calculation problems, inability to perform operations of a certain complexity, and problems in perceiving the ‘environment correctly;
- Sexual disorders. For male patients, erectile dysfunction and premature or absent ejaculation are reported; for female patients, on the other hand, difficulty in reaching orgasm and loss of sensitivity in the genital area.
- Mood changes and depression ;
- Spasticity. It can include muscle stiffness and involuntary spasms that complicate movement.
- It is usually felt in the lower limbs; however, it can also affect the upper limbs;
- Other, less frequent symptoms may accompany these widespread manifestations of multiple sclerosis. Such as speech disturbances, hearing problems, and tremors.
Symptoms of ms in women: Causes
Symptoms of ms in women: Possible Causes
To date, the causes responsible for the onset of the disease are still uncertain. Researchers argue that a combination of factors may be involved in the onset of multiple sclerosis. Studies are underway in immunology (the science that deals with the body’s immune system) and epidemiological and genetic studies to answer. Understanding the causes of multiple sclerosis will be of fundamental help in understanding how to deal with this disease from a therapeutic point of view and/or how to prevent it.
The possible causes of multiple sclerosis currently include:
Immunological causes: Symptoms of MS in Women
It is now accepted that multiple sclerosis contributes to a neurodegenerative process mediated by the immune system at the central nervous system (an abnormal response of the body’s immune system directed against the myelin of the CNS ). The exact antigen or target that causes immune cells to respond with a myelin attack remains unknown to date. However, in recent years, researchers have been able to identify: which immune cell prepares the attack, some of the factors that cause the cells to attack myelin, and some receptors which seem to be “attracted” to myelin to initiate the process of its destruction. Obviously, the studies are still ongoing.
Multiple sclerosis is known to occur more frequently in areas far from the equator. Scholars are investigating many factors, including geographic, demographic (age, gender, and ethnicity) variations, infections, and more, to understand the reason for this evidence. But who then moved to a geographic area with a lower risk before the age of 15 have acquired the risk relating to the new area.
This suggests that exposure to environmental factors before puberty would predispose the person to develop multiple sclerosis subsequently. Normally produced by the body during exposure of the skin to the sun. People who live much closer to the equator are exposed to a large amount of sunlight throughout the year; as a result. They tend to have higher levels of naturally produced vitamin D.
Causes of Infection
Since exposure to numerous viruses, bacteria, and other microbes occurs during adolescence, and since viruses are well recognized as demyelination causes, a virus or infectious agent may cause multiple sclerosis.
Genetic causes: Symptoms of MS in Women
Multiple sclerosis is not a hereditary disease in the strict sense of the word, but having a first degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, affected by the disease increases an individual’s risk of developing it, making it many times higher than that of the general population. Studies have shown a higher prevalence of some genes in populations with higher rates of multiple sclerosis. Common genetic factors have also been found in some families where there is more than one affected person. Some researchers hypothesize that multiple sclerosis develops due to a genetic predisposition that leads the immune system to react to some environmental agent, which triggers an autoimmune response in the organism’s exposure.
Symptoms of ms in women: Shapes
Medical research has led to recognizing different forms of multiple sclerosis; these forms differ from each other in the course of the disease and how they act at the neurological level. The distinction between the various forms of multiple sclerosis is important not only for the disease’s prognosis. But also for planning the most appropriate treatment.
Forms of Multiple Sclerosis
Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) is characterized by a neurological episode indicative of multiple sclerosis, whose duration is at least 24 hours. At the origin of which there is damage to the central nervous system’s myelin. Being affected by CIS does not mean that you are sick with multiple sclerosis or that you will necessarily develop this disease.
Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis with Remission (RRMS)
This is the most common form of multiple sclerosis. Under these guises, multiple sclerosis alternates acute episodes (called “attacks” or “relapses”), in which there is a sudden worsening of neurological functions, to phases of remission, in which a partial or complete recovery occurs and in which the disease does not progress. According to statistics, between 75 and 85% of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis have this disease.
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Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (SMPS)
This form of multiple sclerosis follows, in many cases, the relapsing form with remission, that is, the SMRR form. The peculiarities of SMPS are a constant worsening of neurological functions and a progressive accumulation of disability, in the absence of noteworthy moments of remission. Several studies have shown that at least 50% of relapsing multiple sclerosis cases with remission develop the secondary progressive form within 10 years of the first diagnosis. Long-term data are currently not yet available to show that today’s treatments can postpone the transition between the two aforementioned forms.
Primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PMS )
This form of multiple sclerosis is characterized by a slow worsening of neurological functions from the onset of the first symptoms and the absence of important “attacks” and substantial remission moments. According to statistics, 10-15% of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis have the disease in the PPMS form.
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Progressive multiple sclerosis with relapses (SMPR): characterized by major attacks and the absence of remission moments, this form involves a constant worsening of neurological functions from the beginning. Sometimes, patients with PRMS may feel a sense of recovery after relapses; however, it is not a real remission, and the disease continues in any case in its neurodegenerative course.
Radiologically Isolated Syndrome (RIS)
It is the name that identifies all cases of apparently healthy people who, on brain MRI, show myelinated lesions characteristic of multiple sclerosis.
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What is a multiple sclerosis attack/relapse?
When we talk about attacks or relapses of multiple sclerosis, we refer to the appearance of new symptoms or the worsening of pre-existing symptoms, all for the duration of at least 24 hours and in the absence of fever or conditions of an infectious nature.
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Symptoms of ms in women: Diagnosis
Multiple sclerosis: how to recognize it
Currently, there are no laboratory analyzes or instrumental tests. That can determine on their own whether a person has multiple sclerosis. Typically, doctors use different strategies to check if a person has a clinical picture that meets the diagnostic criteria for multiple sclerosis, diagnostic criteria.
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The classic strategy undertaken to arrive at a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis includes a careful examination of the medical history (anamnesis), a neurological examination, a blood test, lumbar puncture (analysis of spinal fluids), and some instrumental tests, including an MRI of the brain and spinal cord and the so-called evoked potential test.
Symptoms of ms in women: Therapy
How is multiple sclerosis treated?
Currently, no cure allows you to recover from multiple sclerosis. That deals with regulating food and pharmaceutical products – which have been shown to slow the disease’s course (they are the so-called multiple sclerosis modifying drugs. ).
Furthermore, we must not forget the existence of medicines and therapies that effectively control the so-called attacks. And treatments useful for the management of certain typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis. For some time now, the medical-scientific community has been trying to understand. The causes of multiple sclerosis, to find a more specific cure, thanks to advances in medicine, research in this direction is taking important steps. However, question marks remain.
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Multiple Sclerosis Modifying Drugs
Multiple sclerosis-modifying drugs can have the following effects:
- Slow down the course of the disease and the progressive disability that follows;
- Decrease the frequency and intensity of so-called attacks;
- Reduce the accumulation of lesions (damaged areas) in the myelinated nerve fibers of the brain.
These drugs include:
- Interferon beta (ex: Betaferon, Rebif , Avonex , Extavia ).
- Glatiramer acetate (ex: Copaxone ).
- Fingolimod (ex: Gilenya ).
- Dimethyl fumarate (ex: Tecfidera ).
- Teriflunomide (ex: Aubagio).
- Siponimod (ex: Payment).
- Natalizumab (ex: Tysabri ).
- Mitoxantrone (ex: Novantrone).
These drugs clearly require a medical prescription and have various side effects, sometimes even significant ones. The choice of one drug over another depends mainly on the form of multiple sclerosis in progress.
Therapies for the control of relapses of multiple sclerosis
Briefly, for the control of multiple sclerosis “attacks,” the available therapies are some cortisone drugs. And plasmapheresis (separation of blood plasma from the corpuscular elements of the blood ). About steroids, the choice is usually on the prednisone by mouth or methylprednisolone for intravenous.
Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Treatments to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis again include medications and physiotherapy.
Among the drugs used in the management of symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the following are noted:
- Medicines to reduce muscle spasms and stiffness (e.g., the muscle relaxants baclofen and tizanidine ).
- Medicines to reduce the sense of chronic fatigue (e.g., amantadine, methylphenidate hydrochloride ).
- The dalfampridine, which serves to improve the walking speed.
- Medicines for erectile dysfunction, depression, chronic pain, and bladder and bowel problems.
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Physiotherapy for multiple sclerosis patients includes stretching. And muscle strengthening exercises, with the ultimate goal of relieving motor and coordination problems and the sense of weakness.