Multiple sclerosis | University of Maryland Medical Center

Posted: August 20, 2015 at 5:51 pm

Introduction

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable disease of the nervous system that disrupts communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Its effects can range from relatively mild in most cases to somewhat disabling to devastating. The symptoms may mysteriously occur and then disappear. In the worst cases, a person with MS may be unable to:

During an MS "flare", inflammation occurs in areas of the white matter (pale colored nerve tissue) of the central nervous system in random patches called plaques. This is followed by destruction of myelin, the fatty covering that protects nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin allows for the smooth, high-speed transmission of electrochemical messages between the brain, the spinal cord, and the rest of the body. When myelin is damaged, it may block or slow neurological transmission of messages, resulting in diminished or lost function.

Symptoms of MS include:

The cause of MS is unknown. Scientists think the disease isan autoimmune condition influenced by genetic and environmental factors. Other theories include a childhood virus that primes the immune system for an attack against myelin in early adulthood.

People with the following conditions or characteristics are at risk for developing MS:

If you have symptoms associated with MS, you should see your health care provider. Your provider will:

The primary goal of treatment is to reduce the severity of attacks using certain medications and to extend the individual's physical functioning for as long as possible.

Your health care provider may prescribe the following medications, (or a combination of the following medications):

Surgery may help treat severe and disabling tremors and reduce severe spasms.

A comprehensive treatment plan for MS may include a range of complementary and alternative medical therapies (CAM). Always work with a knowledgeable provider when seeking CAM therapies for the treatment of MS. Some CAM therapies may interfere with conventional treatments. Inform all of your providers about any CAM therapies you are considering.

These nutritional tips may help reduce symptoms:

You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:

Herbs are one way to strengthen and tone the body's systems. As with any therapy, you should speak with your provider before starting treatment. You may use herbs as dried extracts (capsules, powders, and teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, make teas with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots. Drink 2 to 4 cups per day. You may use tinctures alone or in combination as noted.

Although few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic therapies, professional homeopaths may consider the following remedies for the treatment of gastritis symptoms (nausea and vomiting) based on their knowledge and experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account your constitutional type, includes your physical, emotional, and psychological makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate treatment for you individually. Combination remedies may be used for fatigue, spasm, and to help rid the body of impurities. Remedies include:

About 70% of people experience attacks and remissions, and about half of these undergo a chronic, progressive worsening after about 10 years. 10 to 15% of people experience a chronic, progressive, worsening of the disease from the initial onset, and 15 to 20% of people have a relatively mild course of the disease. Most people with MS live for 30 years or more with the disease, many still working and mobile, though bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction are common among this population. People who have MS are at a higher risk than the general population of:

MS is also associated with increased risk of some cancers, including urinary organs and brain tumors.

People with MS will need lifelong monitoring, especially during flare-ups.

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Multiple sclerosis | University of Maryland Medical Center

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