Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis or MS:-

Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks myelin, a key substance that serves as a nerve insulator. It helps in the transmission of nerve signals causing numbness, weakness, loss of muscle coordination, and problems with vision, speech, and bladder control.

‘Autoimmune’ means that the body’s immune system becomes confused about some part of the body it is designed to protect. It is also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminate. It attacks that part of the body as if it were a foreign invader.

It affects a person’s ability to move, to feel, and to control his or her body functions. The progress, severity and specific symptoms in MS are unpredictable.

It is two to three times more common in the female population than with males and usually has an onset from the teen years up to age fifty.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, approximately 400,000 Americans acknowledge having multiple sclerosis or MS, and every week about 200 people are diagnosed. Worldwide, MS may affect 2.5 million individuals.

Most people experience their first symptoms between the ages of twenty and forty. Symptoms rarely begin before the age of fifteen or after sixty. Women are twice as likely to get multiple sclerosis or MS as men, especially in their early years. MS is more common among some ethnic groups than others. For example, the disease is more common in North America and northern Europe than in other parts of the world. MS is very rare among Asians, Indians of North and South America, and Eskimos.

What Happens in Multiple Sclerosis or MS:-

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. They process information from our environment and control voluntary muscle movements to allow the body to do certain things.

Multiple sclerosis or MS results in destruction of the myelin surrounding the nerves of the CNS or central nervous system. The destruction is thought to be caused by the body’s immune system attacking the myelin sheath.

This autoimmune destruction of the myelin sheath leads to areas of demyelination (also known as plaques) in the brain and spinal cord.

These plaques disrupt the transmission of information in the CNS and lead to the symptoms.

Multiple sclerosis or MS lesions most commonly involve white matter areas close to the ventricles of the cerebellum, brain stem, basal ganglia and spinal cord; and the optic nerve. The function of white matter cells is to carry signals between grey matter areas, where the processing is done, and the rest of the body. The peripheral nervous system is rarely involved.

Homoeopathic Treatment:-

Conventional treatment follows an approach of symptom relief or to say palliative treatment for multiple sclerosis which usually ends up with dangerous side effects added to the original distressing disease.

The various signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis or MS make it difficult for a patient to live independently and live a normal, peaceful life. The conventional treatment only does a palliative job and ultimately adds on to the suffering of the patient.

In contrast homoeopathy follows an approach of immune correction (balancing auto immunity) which is responsible for the presence of disease in the body thus helping the patient to get rid of the problem from its root.

In the conventional treatment there are different medicines for the different symptoms of multiple stenosis or MS.

  • Muscle weakness, numbness, and stiffness (spasticity) may be treated using medicines such as tizanidin and baclofen, diazepam, and anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine. Side effects of baclofen and tizanidine include drowsiness, dizziness, and fatigue. These drugs should not be discontinued abruptly. Carbamazepine may cause severe side effects including aplastic anemia, low white blood cell count (leukopenia), cancer that develops in cells found in blood and lymph (lymphoma), heart failure, and seizures.
  • Fatigue may be treated using amantadine hydrochloride (Symmetrel) or modafinil (Provigil) when frequent napping, adequate sleep at night, and daily exercise do not help. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, and headache.
  • Balance and equilibrium abnormalities (like difficulty walking, uncoordinated movements, tremor) may be treated using medications such as benzodiazepines (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), propranolol (Inderal), and mysoline (Primidone). Side effects include drowsiness, confusion, and depression.
  • Bladder dysfunction (like incontinence, nocturia) may be treated using medications such as oxybutynin (Ditropan), tolterodine (Detrol), and hyosciarnine (Levsin). Bladder emptying regimen, intermittent catheterization, and surgery may also be used. Side effects of these medications include headache, dry mouth, constipation, and dizziness.
  • Immune therapy includes the use of Interferon beta-1a (Avonex, Rebif), Interferon beta-1b (Betaseron), Glatiramer acetate (Copaxone). Side effects include flu like symptoms (like malaise, muscle aches, fever) and inflammation (like pain, redness, infection) at the injection site.
  • Corticosteroids shorten the attack and reduce inflammation with dangerous side effects.

In contrast homoeopathy uses small magical doses of the medicines for the treatment of all the problems patient is suffering with. The quality of life affected by this disorder can effectively be taken care by homoeopathic treatment.

The medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution and so on. While choosing the homoeopathic remedies the cause of various symptoms of multiple sclerosis or MS are also evaluated such as hereditary factors, smoking, mental stress, infections and so on. This is overlooked by the allopathic practitioners.

Proper prescription of remedies makes the immune system work more efficiently. Also homoeopathic constitutional treatment will reinforce the immune system by escalating the number of specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes that are vital in the body’s defense against certain bacteria and fungi, assisting in making antibodies, and facilitating in the recognition and rejection of foreign tissues.

Medicines also help in slowing down the progress of the disease and the development of complications. The treatment can help in inducing the periods which are symptom free and can also assist in improving the immunity so that the patient does not face frequent relapses. Homoeopathic treatment also treats mental and physical stress, and alters the hereditary predisposition to the disease.

Timely administration of the medicines can easily take care of the relapses and will save you from surgery which is a physical, mental and economic trauma to the patient.

In the advanced stages homoeopathy treatment can be combined with the conventional or allopathic treatment to relieve the patient. Remedies comprehensively help improve the quality of life.

There are 58 homoeopathy remedies which give great relief in multiple sclerosis or MS. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus medicies are tailor made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same drugs although trade name may be different.

Causes:-

Exact cause of multiple sclerosis is not known. It is believed to be due to the following reasons :

  • Genetics

Multiple sclerosis or MS is not considered a hereditary disease. However, a number of genetic variations have been shown to increase the risk of developing the disease. The risk of acquiring MS is higher in relatives of a person with the disease than in the general population, especially in the case of siblings, parents, and children.

  • Environmental factors

Different environmental factors, both of infectious and non infectious origin have been proposed as risk factors for multiple sclerosis or MS.

MS is more common in people who live farther from the equator, although many exceptions does exist. Decreased sunlight exposure has been linked with a higher risk. Decreased vitamin D production and intake has been the main biological mechanism used to explain the higher risk among those less exposed to sun.

Severe stress may also be a risk factor although evidence is weak. Smoking has also been shown to be an independent risk factor for developing MS. Association with occupational exposures and toxins mainly solvents has been evaluated, but no clear conclusions have been reached. Several other possible risk factors, such as diet and hormone intake, have been investigated.

  • Infections

Multiple sclerosis or MS has been seen in people infected with or history of infection with viruses such as human herpes virus, Epstein-Barr virus.

Oligoclonal bands have been detected which results from increased level of IgG which is a byproduct of demyelination. This shows the probable link between infections and MS. Other diseases that have also been related are measles, mumps and rubella.

Signs & Symptoms:-

Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis or MS vary widely, depending on the location of affected nerve fibers:

Muscle or motor symptoms, such as weakness, leg dragging and involuntary leg movements, especially bothersome at night, stiffness, a tendency to drop things, a feeling of heaviness, clumsiness, or a lack of coordination (ataxia), slurred speech and other speech related problems, wasting of muscle due to lack of use (disuse atrophy), jerking and twitching muscles.

Sensory symptoms, such as tingling, a pins-and-needles sensation, numbness, a band like tightness around the trunk or legs, or electrical sensations moving down the back and legs, loss of awareness of location of body parts, facial pain.

Visual symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, loss of colour vision, blindness. There may be diplopia (double vision), nystagmus (jerky eye movements), ocular dysmetria (constant under or overshooting eye movements), internuclear ophthalmoplegia (lack of coordination between the two eyes, nystagmus, diplopia), movement and sound phosphenes (flashing lights when moving eyes or in response to a sudden noise), afferent pupillary defect (abnormal pupil responses).

Bladder symptoms, such as an inability to hold urine (urinary incontinence) or to completely empty the bladder, or a loss of bladder sensation – an inability to sense that the bladder becoming full until there is a sudden, urgent need to urinate. These symptoms lead to other complications, such as infections of the bladder, kidney, or blood.

Coordination and balance symptoms include ataxia (loss of coordination), intention tremor (shaking when performing fine movements), dysmetria (constant under or overshooting limb movements), vestibular ataxia (abnormal balance function in the inner ear), vertigo (nausea / vomiting / sensitivity to travel sickness from vestibular ataxia), speech ataxia (Problems coordinating speech, stuttering), dystonia (slow limb position feedback), dysdiadochokinesia (loss of ability to produce rapidly alternating movements, for example to move to a rhythm).

Mental / cognitive symptoms include depression, cognitive dysfunction (short-term and long-term memory problems), forgetfulness, slow word recall, dementia, mood swings, euphoria, bipolar syndrome, anxiety, aphasia, dysphasia (impairments to speech comprehension and production).

Other symptoms include fatigue, increase in severity of symptoms with heat, gastro esophageal reflux (acid reflux), impaired sense of taste and smell, epileptic seizures, swallowing problems, respiratory problems, sleeping disorders, inappropriately cold body parts.

Most people, particularly in the beginning stages of the disease, experience relapses of symptoms, which are followed by periods of complete or partial remission. Signs and symptoms are triggered or worsened by an increase in body temperature.

Complications:-

  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • Emotional disturbances
  • Nystagmus
  • Optic nerve atrophy
  • Paraplegia
  • Sexual impotence in men
  • UTIs
  • Complications from chronic disability (like pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, infected decubiti)

How to Diagnosis:-

Diagnosis of MS is based on a detailed history, physical and neurological examination, blood tests, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan), spinal tap, and neurological tests.

Blood tests : Blood tests may be used to help rule out other conditions that cause similar symptoms.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI scan) : This imaging test can be used to detect lesions in the white matter of the brain.

Spinal tap : A spinal tap, also known as a lumbar puncture, is performed to detect oligoclonal bands in cerebrospinal fluid. Oligoclonal bands result from elevated levels of the antibody immunoglobulin G (IgG) and myelin basic protein, which is a byproduct of demyelination, and are present in more than 85% of MS cases. In this procedure, a needle is inserted between two lower spine (lumbar) vertebrae and cerebrospinal fluid is collected and analyzed.