More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Hope and Help for Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease that is a great challenge to cope with, in large part because it's so unpredictable. It can be mild and barely noticeable, or severe enough to cause great disability. It's permanent; often the effects come and go over the years and you never know if and when a flare-up might occur. Fortunately, there are many treatments that are proven effective and promising new therapies are on the horizon.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/2001/10/MS.MMC.html

23-Oct-01
Mayo Clinic

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease that is a great challenge to cope with, in large part because it's so unpredictable. According to November's issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource, it can be mild and barely noticeable, or severe enough to cause great disability. It's permanent; often the effects come and go over the years and you never know if and when a flare-up might occur.

Fortunately, there are many treatments that are proven effective and promising new therapies are on the horizon.

MS is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your own central nervous system -- i.e., your brain, optic nerves and spinal cord. This process results in multiple areas of scarring -- or sclerosis -- hence the name. It's estimated that 300,000 people in America have the disease, which is seen twice as often in women as men.

Symptoms of MS vary widely in each person, depending on the areas of the nervous system that have been damaged. They include numbness, weakness or paralysis in one or more limbs; brief pain or tingling sensations; tremors; impaired vision with pain when you move your eyes; rapid, involuntary eye movements and fatigue and dizziness. Initially, symptoms come and go in attacks that can last days or weeks at a time. In some people, the disease progresses and can result in permanent weakness, muscle spasms, slurred speech, vision loss or other problems.

There are five types of MS ranging from benign (in which symptoms are mild and do not worsen over time) to varying degrees of progressive (continuous deterioration without remission). Doctors use several tests -- including neurologic exam, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal taps -- to diagnose the presence and type of MS. Many medications can ease specific symptoms or regulate the immune system to reduce flare-ups. At Mayo Clinic, doctors are studying blood plasma exchange for people with recent, severe attacks.

Doctors also recommend other treatments people can do on their own, such as:

Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource is published monthly to help women enjoy healthier, more productive lives. Revenue from subscriptions is used to support medical research at Mayo Clinic.

Shelly Plutowski
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)
e-mail: newsbureau@mayo.edu
 

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