Is Multiple Sclerosis Curable or Preventable?

Multiple sclerosis is interesting to me because I have known several people – friends – who have been afflicted with the disease. I had hoped that research in the subject would reveal to me that progress was being toward finding a cure. Unfortunately, that is only partially true. The Mayo Clinic website that I visited lists MS as an incurable disease, though there are now medicines that will delay its progress.

That is very important because, through watching my friends with it, it is clear that it is a progressive disease and, from all accounts, irreversible. These observations were confirmed by my research. The Mayo website states: “There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help modify and slow the course of the disease and treat symptoms.”

Multiple sclerosis is a debilitating disease with the following symptoms: numbness of limbs, loss of vision – especially in one eye – sometimes with pain in the eye, tingling or pain in parts of the body, tremors, lack of coordination, difficulty walking, fatigue and dizziness.

These symptoms result, according to the Mayo Clinic report, when “the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue….this process destroys myelin – the fatty substance that coats and protects the nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. When myelin is damaged, the messages that travel along that nerve may be slowed or blocked”.

The disease has been inflicted on between 250 thousand and 350 thousand Americans, according to the report. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of twenty and fort, although, occasionally, it has attacked some very young and some older people. Interesting facts are that whites are twice as likely to have the disease as other races and women are twice as likely as men.

I have first hand evidence on how the disease can progress. My dear friend was in her late twenties when I first met her thirteen years ago. She had been diagnosed just a couple of years before. At that time she was coping with two young sons and experiencing a few symptoms: numbness in her joints and occasional difficulty with her limbs. I have watched her steadily decline, until now she is confined to a wheelchair. Much to her credit, she brings herself to school here at Forest Park Community College and deals quite well with two teenage sons.

Another victim of multiple sclerosis that I know is a man in his fifties that was diagnosed over thirty years ago. Although he walks with a cane, he works twenty hours a week as a checker at a grocery store. Clearly, all victims are not affected in the same way and to the same degree.

Perhaps, if the causes of the decease were known, it would be possible to find a cure or, at least, to design protective measures against it. The Mayo report states: “Doctors and researchers don’t understand why multiple sclerosis develops in some people and not in others. A combination of factors ranging from genetics to nutrition and infection may play a part.”

Because of my personal interest in this disease, I wanted to find what progress has been made toward finding a cure and pin-pointing the cause. I went to the NIH site and found that there has been some movement in the last decade, although primarily in the area of finding new tools to aid in finding cures rather than in finding the cures themselves. It says: “New tools, such as MRI have redefined the natural history of MS and are proving invaluable in monitoring disease activity.”

Scientists are now able to visualize and follow the development of MS lesions in the brain and spinal cord…Other tools have been found that make the painstaking work of teasing out the disease’s genetic secrets possible.

Treatments have been found that may make it possible to slow the development of the disease and to treat the symptoms. Let us hope the next decade will find a real cure. The least we can hope for is that science will discover the cause or causes of MS so that we learn what we must do to prevent this terrible affliction from attacking us.

What Do You Need to Know About Multiple Sclerosis

1. Multiple Sclerosis:

Multiple Sclerosis is one amongst the widely afflicting diseases today. It can be interpreted to be a disease of nervous system where it worsens over a period of time with loss of feeling and loss of control of movement and speech. So, MS attacks the individual’s central nervous system that is constituted of different nerves and nerve fibers. It involves a threat to his brain, spinal cord and eye or optical nerves. Basically MS hampers or destructs the protein that safeguards the nerve fibers. This protective protein is known as myelin and it aids in the communication between nerve cells. Once myelin gets burnt up, a breakdown occurs in the nerve cells’ co-ordination. Its effect is visible in the behavior (that drifts from normal to abnormal) of the individual. Along with this there appear lesions and plaques occur on that part of the body where demyelination takes place. But this is not all. Most often the cells that help in regaining myelin are even eliminated. The individual’s body then succumbs to damage and disability.

2. Invoking and Provoking Multiple Sclerosis: Various conditions are deemed to invite multiple sclerosis.

o An individual’s genes are the first and foremost factor that contributes to the risk of developing MS at any stage of life. Medical research reveals that the kids born of those parents where either of them has a history of MS, are largely prone to it.

o Apart from the genes, an environment change is also instrumental in causing MS.

o Viruses of diseases such as herpes, measles, flu etc. have proved to be quite effective in invoking multiple sclerosis.

o Hormones, especially the sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone have weakened the immunity system and instigated MS.

3. The Indications:

MS may be exposed differently in different people or a single person may face various symptoms. Actually, the time MS strikes the nervous system, it becomes manifested via some or the other indicator. For instance, as soon as demyelination begins, the individual may experience lack of balance of his body, tremors, a paralytic attack and so forth. Gradually, these symptoms translate to outburst of the disease.

4. The Varying Features:

According to doctors, there are differing types of multiple sclerosis. The primary is the Relapsing- Remitting MS. As the name suggests, relapsing MS is that where MS dissolves or disappears but only initially, it recurs after a span of time. After relapsing, the disease begins to catch pace and so injure the spinal cord and brain.

If the nervous system starts worsening right after the inception of the symptoms, it is Progressive-Relapsing MS. Similarly there are Primary-Progressive and Secondary Progressive stages of Multiple Sclerosis. At the onset of this disease, the doctors by studying the symptoms determine or adjudicate which form it will take.

5. Diagnosing and Medication

Right after the perception of MS indicators, in order to confront the actual status of multiple sclerosis, doctors ask the individual to undergo different tests. MRI and blood tests are commonly advised to estimate the actual status of the disease. Besides the tests, medicines too are prescribed. There are quite a few good drugs available in the market such as Avonex, Rebif etc. However, MS does not seem to be cured by any of these measures then chemotherapy is the final resort. It is an extremely difficult treatment but it entails positive results.

6. Precautionary Measures:

o The best possible defence against all diseases is the intake of a rich balanced diet that strengthens the immunity system.

o If an individual has a background of diseases like hypertension, kidney issues and fluid retention etc. then the doctor ought to be ultra cautious prior to recommending any medicine. For there can be many serious hostile effects of these antibiotics.

o Those who fear MS due to appearance of some similar symptoms must go for an instant check up. Otherwise also, the people born of any of the MS parents must pay extra heed to their health ad consult doctor time and again.

o The effects of an environmental change should be carefully studied before making any trip to a foreign place.

Can Whole Body CryoTherapy Slow Down Or Treat The Effects Of Multiple Sclerosis?

Well, it turns out that since Multiple Sclerosis (MS) symptoms are greatly reduced with Whole Body CryoTherapy (WBCT). This is because WBCT disrupts the inflammation process so the pain is reduced temporarily as the body resets itself. Once temporarily reset MS appears in regression. Some recommend a two-week treatment (twice a day, 3-hour intervals) every 6-months to try to prevent the onset of a recurrence of hard-hitting debilitating issues from MS.

Since Whole Body CryoTherapy disrupts the inflammation process it therefore makes sense for a short-term reliever of symptoms, resetting the body. In fact, one research study showed a result in “positive antioxidant effects of WBCT as a short-term help in treatment for patients suffering from MS.”

Modern medicine still doesn’t know all it needs to determine what causes MS or how to cure it, but it appears that Whole Body CryoTherapy might serve as a nice stop gap for those who suffer from MS, perhaps temporarily limiting its effect on their lifestyle due to symptom flare-ups or relapses in condition. It’s great to know the value of WBCT for those afflicted with MS.

Another interesting link is how CryoTherapy induces an endorphin rush as endorphins are a chemical that is good for our central nervous system and brain, which are also places that MS causes our bodies to attack. There is more to this story, and we hope research finds out how it is all connected. In the meanwhile if you have MS, you might wish to see how Whole Body CryoTherapy can assist you in dealing with the symptoms, relapses and pain associated with it.

There is one research paper on this I’d like to point you to; “Effects of the whole-body cryotherapy on a total antioxidative status and activities of some antioxidative enzymes in blood of patients with multiple sclerosis-preliminary study,” by E. Miller, M. Mrowicka, K. Malinowska, K. Zolynski and J. Kedziora. See: Journal of Medical Investment 2010 Feb;57(1-2):168-73.

When we survey various Whole Body CryoTherapy establishments we learn that the MS community is expanding its interest and we are seeing more folks who are afflicted with MS showing up for regular Whole Body CyroTherapy sessions. Apparently the word is out, and folks are finding relief with Cryo Therapy. This is great news due to the debilitating conditions that MS causes during flare ups or in late stages.

Although this one study isn’t enough to guarantee relief, we see lots of activity here, and there must be a reason for it, as Cryo Therapy isn’t free, and it’s cold and if it didn’t work, why would you want to subject yourself to it? Think on this.

The Many Manifestations of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that exposes itself in different ways in different people. No two people show exactly the same set of symptoms. Some people may just have a single symptom that later disappears for months or years. Some may suffer from a lot of symptoms that may also get worse within a few weeks or months. The symptoms may be steadily increasing over time for some people while for others there may be periodic relapses and remissions.

Why do the symptoms vary from person to person?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder that affects different areas of the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms vary depending on the nerves affected. MS is actually an immune-mediated inflammatory disease. It causes damage to the protective myelin sheath that covers the nerves of the brain and spinal cord. Scar tissue replaces the myelin sheath in the affected region and the damage involves different areas at various points in time. The frequency and severity of symptoms depend on how deep and extreme the damage is. Hence, there is no defined pattern of presentation in MS.

What are the various possible symptoms?

Though MS has a range of manifestations, there are some common symptoms that people with the disease usually complain of.

Changes in vision

In many cases, visual problems are the first symptoms to be noticed. This occurs due to the optic nerve involvement. This nerve extends from the eyeball to the brain. When the nerve gets inflamed, it leads to a condition called optic neuritis. The result is a painful reduction or loss of vision in the affected eye. The pain is more pronounced during movements of the involved eyeball. Defective color vision can also occur. Another common visual symptom is double vision. This occurs due to a condition called nystagmus which means involuntary movement of the eyes.

Paresthesia or abnormal sensation

This is another common early symptom of MS. Numbness, tingling sensation, burning and itching are commonly reported by people with MS. These abnormal sensations can occur anywhere in the body depending on the nerve involved. Some common sites are the face, arms, fingers and legs.

Myelin sheath ensures faster conduction of nerve signals to the brain and spinal cord. Due to the damage caused to the myelin sheath and nerves, the signals are not properly conducted. This leads to numbness. When the nerve tract that transmits signals like touch, pain, and temperature is affected, some non-specific altered sensations like tingling, burning and itching occur. These are due to exaggerated responses or hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli like light touch. These abnormal sensations can also occur without any stimulus.

Muscle spasms and cramps

Involuntary stiffening of muscles (spasms) is common in people with MS. The cramps (pain) occur due to the spasm of muscles and they are usually felt in the legs. The spasticity makes the muscle movements difficult. Therefore, people need more energy to perform their day-to-day activities. This eventually leads to muscle weakness and tiredness. Fatigue is another common symptom that most people with MS complain of. It can occur all of a sudden without any history of exertion.

Loss of balance and co-ordination

The cerebellum of the brain helps maintain balance and co-ordination. The involvement of this part results in difficulty maintaining balance during walking and co-ordination problems like holding things with hands. In addition to this, fatigue and numbness make walking difficult. Tremors, dizziness, light headed feeling, slurred speech and vertigo are some other manifestations of cerebellar and brain stem involvement.

Sensitivity to heat

Another peculiar problem that is commonly seen in people with MS is their excessive sensitivity to heat. The symptoms of MS seem to be triggered or aggravated by an increase in body temperature or in warm surroundings.

Bladder and bowel disturbances

These symptoms are very common in people with MS. Bladder problems include frequent urination, nocturia (frequent urination at night times), an urge to urinate, incomplete emptying and urinary incontinence (leakage). Constipation is the usual bowel disturbance seen in people with MS. Diarrhea and bowel incontinence are less commonly seen.

Sexual dysfunction

Women with MS complain of dryness of vagina and men complain of difficulty in maintaining erection. Both men and women lack interest in sexual activity and find trouble in achieving orgasm. Sexual dysfunction is another common problem faced by most of the people with MS.

Cognitive dysfunction

Cognitive difficulties are seen in about half of the people with MS. Memory problems and attention difficulties are the common cognitive problems. Some people have problems in language comprehension and usage. People also face difficulties in decision-making, reasoning, planning, and execution of scheduled activities.

Emotional changes

Depression is common in people with MS. The actual reason for depression is not very clear. It could be due to the damage caused to the nerves or simply the other distressing symptoms of MS. Anxiety, irritability and mood swings are not unusual. Some people with MS can exhibit a condition called pseudobulbar affect. This condition is characterized by rapid and uncontrollable mood swings with episodes of laughing and crying irrelevant to the existing situations.

Other symptoms

Seizures, swallowing difficulties and breathing problems are other non-specific symptoms by which Multiple Sclerosis can present itself.

As it is obvious, most of the manifestations of Multiple Sclerosis are subjective – they are felt by the person who suffers from the disease and are not visible to others. The myriad manifestations and their unpredictable pattern of presentation make the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis difficult.

Furthermore, the symptoms of the disease are not specific to it – they can occur in other conditions also. It is just as difficult to attribute these symptoms to MS as it is to diagnose the condition.