Multiple Schlirosis

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Chris DeSimone Mrs. Yung Per. 1 3/23/01 Report         I have chosen to do my report on a very serious disease called Multiple Sclerosis or MS. Multiple sclerosis was first diagnosed in 1849, symptoms of multiple sclerosis have dates all the way back to the fourteenth century. It is a disease of the central nervous system, it can range from very mild cases to the most severe. Multiple sclerosis has effects on communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Most multiple sclerosis patients are mildly affected, which causes doctors not to notice symptoms. The worst cases a person couldn't write, speak, or walk. During a multiple sclerosis attack swelling of the white matter in the central nervous system occurs. It happens in random patches called plaques. Then your body's myelin is destroyed, myelin is the fatty covering that insulates nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord. This myelin allows your brain to send messages down your spinal cord and to the rest of your body.

When it's damaged the messages are slowed or in severe cases blocked completely. This is when your body's white blood cells that fight off foreign viruses, attacks your myelin. Multiple sclerosis is defined as, "multiple" meaning many and "sclerosis" which is Greek for scaring.

        On average the first symptoms occur between the ages of 20-40, because cases are mostly mild diagnoses are frequently delayed. For a doctor to confirm diagnose specific changes in the brain must occur. There are a wide variety of symptoms for example the ones listed below.

-Muscle Weakness         There have been exceptions but most of the         -Impairment of Pain, Temp., Touch,         time symptoms don't begin before 15 or Pain         develop after age 60. White people are -Speech Problems         twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis -Vision Problems         compared with other races. The symptoms -Vertigo                 may occur for a long duration or short in -Bladder Problems         different combinations. The first main -Bowel Problems         symptom is often blurred or double vision.

-Sexual Dysfunction         The vision problems usually clear up in later -Depression         stages of the disease. 55% of multiple -Fatigue         sclerosis patients' first attack is the optic neuritis. This had led doctors to consider optic neuritis as an early sign of multiple sclerosis. It is not uncommon to experience muscle weakness in extremities, along with difficulty in coordination and balance. In severe cases a person may be unable to walk or stand. Fatigue is caused by physical exertion and may by a persistent tiredness, a lot like when a person has Mono. About half of all patients with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive impairments, for example difficulties with attention, memory, concentration, could even cause poor judgment. These problems are mostly mild and doctors usually overlook them. Scientists are trying to tie in the slowing of brain signals with the cognitive symptoms. About 10% of multiple sclerosis patients suffer from depression. Some severe cases can have sudden emotional changes not relating to how you feel. Like if you would be having a good time at a party and for no reason just start crying. In 60% of patients heat can cause worsening of symptoms, heat from exercise or from temperature outside. When patients have this problem the can solve it by cooling themselves off. For example taking a cool bath or going swimming. The most difficult part of multiple sclerosis is that symptoms are erratic, meaning they can come and go spontaneously. This makes leading a normal life very difficult.

        In the United States around 250,000-350,000 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. This means that 200 new people are diagnosed every week. You are five times more likely to get multiple sclerosis in temperate climates. For example the northern U.S. as opposed to a tropical region. Fifteen is the age that you are likely to contract multiple sclerosis. Scientists have discovered that if moving before you are fifteen then your new surroundings are the risk of the disease. Also if you moved after fifteen then you keep the chances you had before you moved. Like if I moved to Florida now I would still be 5 times likelier to get multiple sclerosis then people of low risk areas because I'm over 15. This proves that the environment plays a strong factor in getting multiple sclerosis. More evidence is leading to genetics playing a role in getting multiple sclerosis. For example Gypsies, Eskimos, and Bantus, never get multiple sclerosis. In the population at large the chances of getting multiple sclerosis are less than a tenth of one percent. Although if someone in the family has multiple sclerosis then the chances rise to a one to three percent chance. Scientists believe it is a few of the genes that effect the immune system that cause multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a strange disease that comes in plateaus, which has stages where the symptoms are almost gone to where they become debilitating. There are exceptions but for the most part people can lead a normal life. There are no cures for the disease just regular check ups with your doctor.