Muscular sclerosis, also known as multiple sclerosis, is a progressive neurological disease. This disease can be classified into autoimmune diseases since antibodies attack cells of the body. In muscular sclerosis the symptoms and signs of the disease are connected to destruction of myelin and consequent scarring. Myelin is a sheath of the nerves and its function is to protect nerves and to participate in proper transmission of signals.
Symptoms of Muscular Sclerosis
Symptoms in certain patients occur from time to time and are followed by remission. In other patients symptoms may linger and get worse over the time. The gradual process of the disease eventually leads to irreversible impairment of neurological functions. The symptoms may be connected to damage of motor, sensory or visual functions.
In the beginning of the disease patients complain about problems with motor skills. Muscles become weak and patients suffer from occasional muscle spasms and fasciculations. Apart from that some of them report slurred speech and problems with coordination and balance.
Sensory problems are related to tingling sensations of different body parts and numbness. These problems are more intensive during night. Additionally, patients complain about problems with vision such as blurred vision or double vision and in severe cases they may even report involuntary movements of the eyeballs.
In later stages of the disease even cognitive changes occur. They include mood swings and depression, psychosis and epilepsy. In advanced stages one may become confused and develop dementia. And in extreme cases patients may end up with paralysis.
Diagnosis of Muscular Sclerosis
There is no specific test for this disease. Still MRI may give an excellent insight in the structural changes in central nervous system. In muscular sclerosis specific structural changes such as scleroses may point to the presence of the disease. Spinal tap will provide with cerebrospinal fluid. Cerebrospinal fluid of patients suffering from muscular sclerosis contains a special enzyme which is typical for the disease. The definitive diagnosis can be set after two flare-ups of the disease and with the assistance of previous methods. Symptoms of the disease can significantly contribute to setting off the diagnosis.
Treatment for Muscular Sclerosis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this horrible neurological disease. On the other hand, patients may benefit from certain medications which may alleviate the symptoms and partially decelerate the progress of the disease.
In recurrent form of muscular sclerosis patients are prescribed drugs which reduce nerve pain, muscle relaxers which take care of spasms and antidepressants which are only given to patients with clear symptoms of depression. In exacerbation of the disease patients are administered corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.