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What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

The question of "What is Multiple Sclerosis" is asked very often after the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis is given.

Multiple Sclerosis
is defined by the medical community as an autoimmune disorder or a disease where the body becomes confused in some way and it attacks itself as if it is a foreign invader that it needs to defend itself against to prevent the disease from causing harm to the body.  The damage caused by Multiple Sclerosis is most often seen as scarring along the myelin sheath on the spinal cord or as scarring throughout the brain.

Sclerosis means scarring.  The Multiple Sclerosis disease is known for attacking the nerves through out the body, especially the myelin sheath, along the spinal cord and the Blood Brain Barrier.

Myelin is a fatty material that surrounds, covers and protects the nerves in the spinal cord damage and aids in a smooth transfer of the nerve signals along the spinal cord.  The myelin sheath, along the spinal cord, helps the nerve signals to travel from the brain to other parts of the body through the spinal cord, which is part of the central nervous system.

The Blood Brain Barrier is a membrane that surrounds and protects the brain from toxins entering the brain that can cause damage to it.

In most cases of Multiple Sclerosis myelin is damaged, leaving sections of myelin that are missing (ms demyelination) or it can result in scarring along the spinal cord, which can interfere with and block or confuse the nerve signals so that they do not reach their initial intended destinations.

Often the myelin sheath is damaged along the spinal cord in most cases of Multiple Sclerosis, but the myelin sheath in different places throughout the brain can also have scarring or some demyelination present.

Multiple Sclerosis is a term that covers a broad range of MS symptoms that can vary from one case of MS to the next case.  Since the  MS symptoms can appear in any combination, this makes it so much more of a challenge for doctors to diagnose Multiple Sclerosis and find effective ways to help reduce the symptoms of their MS patients.

As far as the causes of MS is concerned, it is uncertain as to what actually causes Multiple Sclerosis, but as MS research progresses in many different directions at the same time, the hope is that more will be understood about the disease process of MS.

Since the process of MS disease is not well understood by the medical community, the most current researches that are being done to work towards a cure for MS includes going many different directions at the same time, in the hopes that a cure will be found.

During the research process the hope is also that more will be understood about how and what is affecting the body that can result in the scarring and possible ms nerve damage that is so often associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

One thing that is seen in the majority of cases of MS is that the nerves are attacked and damaged causing many different Multiple Sclerosis symptoms to appear.

Nerves make up 90% of the brain and at least 60% to 70% of the rest of the body.

The brain is the master controller for the body.  Once MS attacks the brain, this can affect almost any part of the body.

We take for granted that we can see, hear, talk, speak, feel what we touch or feel what touches our skin, but any or all of these things that we can do, plus a whole lot more can be affected, so that we can no longer do what we could before MS entered our lives.

MS can affect whether we can stand, whether we can walk or balance, affect our memory or decrease our stamina.

MS can reduce so many things or even eliminate what we can do on a daily basis, to the point that what we could do before MS entered our lives is either reduced or taken away from us totally.

If your symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are mild, then you may or may not even notice any changes in how your body functions, that would alert you that some thing, like Multiple Sclerosis, could be wrong with your body.

Early symptoms of MS are typically very mild and can go on for a couple of years without becoming any worse.

The MS symptoms can appear so randomly that a pattern of their appearance does not emerge or help you to recognize or see that something is wrong.

Some people that I know that have more mild cases of MS can still work and still function enough to be able to walk and do many things without assistance. That is a good thing if you can do it, but often it becomes increasingly more difficult to do much on a daily basis.

There are several things that would help you, even if your symptoms of MS are mild. 

Reducing the amount of saturated animal fats in your diet and increasing the Omega 3 essential fatty acids in your diet over a longer period of time can help to speed healing with the myelin sheath.

Reducing ms stress and learning to relax and sleep well at night helps your body to produce more stem cells, which also speeds healing.

causes of Multiple Sclerosis

MS research is also finding that there may be a few different causes for MS including a MS virus theory that something like the Epstein Barr virus (that is linked to mononucleosis) or the chicken pox virus can be a way that the conditions are set up for Multiple Sclerosis to attack the body to occur.

Multiple Sclerosis genetics may also play a role in causing MS symptoms or possibly some type of severe allergic reaction or severe immune response to an unknown substance that confuses the body into misinterpreting its own cells may also be possible theories as other possible causes of MS.

Another idea, which is also being considered as one of the possible Multiple Sclerosis causes is that the scarring is a result of the effects of Environmental toxins attacking the body (like a nerve agent or something similar, which can cause direct nerve damage to the body).

But, at this point, there is no conclusive proof that gives the medical community enough evidence as to which way to focus the MS research for finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis or to help focus the efforts for finding what can resolve the wide spread physical problems, resulting from the increase in the Multiple Sclerosis incidence rate of the number of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis around the world.

Because there are such a wide variety of theories as to what actually may be the cause or causes of Multiple Sclerosis, this has resulted in many approaches being used by the traditional and complementary medical doctors in an attempt to bring some relief to their patients’ symptoms, which can often result from MS.

The traditional medical doctors are broadening there scope of treatment options to include what is called Complimentary Medicine.  Complimentary medicine includes using a broad range of options in finding a way to bring relief to the Multiple Sclerosis symptoms, that can include pharmaceutical drugs, which are often used to treat Multiple Sclerosis many times.

There are also Alternative and Natural ways that are used effectively for helping to reduce the broad range of MS symptoms that are seen in the many cases of MS that are diagnosed each year throughout the many countries throughout the world.  The traditional medical doctors are finding that there are some benefits of using alternative and natural ways for helping to reduce the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.

This is called Complimentary medicine when the traditional methods of the treatment of disease are combined with alternative methods.  When combined the entire ways used for reducing the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis Alternative medicine can be more effective for addressing and reducing the broad range of symptoms that can occur with each case of MS that is seen.

The Multiple Sclerosis brain can also be affected to some degree in the majority of the cases of MS.

This can result in scarring in the brain or MS brain lesions within the brain, which can be seen on the films of MRI test results, that are used to determine if Multiple Sclerosis is present

MS Pain

A few different types of pain can result with many cases of MS, but not every case of Multiple Sclerosis includes some form of pain.

Multiple Sclerosis sets up conditions for the central nervous system to short-circuit, causing a whole host of MS symptoms.

This short-circuiting of the nervous system is caused because when MS attacks  the nervous system, it causes damage to the nerves that can confuse, scramble or block the nerve signals as they travel from the brain, along the spinal cord and through out the rest of the body.

 Most kinds of stimulation can activate this short-circuiting effect including an over reaction to stress, especially more intense emotions like grief, anger, worry, anxiety, depression or anxiety about the future.

Many cases of Multiple Sclerosis include some form of pain, but many of the cases that do not include ms pain, typically have MS numbness included instead of the pain.

One of the main characteristics of ms pain is that it is typically an intense nerve pain that can be difficult to tolerate, depending on how long the pain stays before it leaves, for at least a period of time. The nerve pain can be continuous or intermittent, where it comes and goes.

MS Nerve pain often includes one of the following:

Multiple Sclerosis Eye pain, MS hug (girdle pain), back, neck, leg, arm, hand, or foot pain can result.  The nerve pain can be present any place through out the body, depending on where the sclerosis (scarring) has occurred throughout the central nervous system.

The MS nerve pain can be localized or travel along the nerves (an example would be ms sciatica, where the pain travels along the nerves that run up the back of both legs from the Achilles tendon at the heal of the foot to up near the area at the based of the spine where the nerves all meet).

The question of what is Multiple Sclerosis, has not been completely clarified at this point, but that doesn't change the fact that there are a core group symptoms, which are often associated with Multiple Sclerosis.

Depending on which part of the nervous system has been attacked and damaged by Multiple Sclerosis, this can vary, which type of MS symptoms appear to become an often major problem for MS sufferers.

Other possible Multiple Sclerosis symptoms can include: 

* Arms
– muscle strength, muscle and nerve function, arm pain, arm numbness, arm spasms, if severe enough, nerve damage can result in the lack of being able to use the one or both of the arms very much.

* Legs – lack of ability or difficulty with standing, balancing, walking, difficulty with moving your legs, legs spasms, leg pain, sciatic pain, numbness in one or both of legs (either partial numbness or total numbness of the entire leg), loss of the ability to pick up or reposition the leg for being able to control where you move your legs to, knees collapse and will not support your body weight

* Feet
– loss of control of your feet (foot drop), foot pain, difficulty picking up your foot to take a step or loss of the ability to control your feet for being able to take a step for being able to walk, clonus (indicates nerve damage -- when you stand on this foot or try to take a step, your foot automatically wants to turn sideways (it looks like the person with this problem is trying to walk or stand on the ankle instead of the bottom of the being on the floor, the foot is turned sideways and the ankle is on the floor instead).

* Eyes
– vision problems (blurry vision, seeing double, trouble focusing, dimness of vision), eye pain, intermittent vision that come and goes, partial or total loss of vision in one or both eyes (if the damage to the retinal nerve is severe enough, optic neuritis can sometimes result).

* Hearing – ringing in the ears (tinnitus), intermittent hearing (that comes and goes), partial or total loss of hearing (if the nerve damage is severe enough)

* Speaking
– speech problems can include stuttering, slurring words when speaking, difficulty finding the right words when trying to form a sentence (more of a cognitive problem), scrambling or confusing words (dyslexia), or if extreme enough, possible loss of the ability to form sentence may also be a possible result, although not as common.
 

* Swallowing
– partial or total loss of the ability to swallow with out chocking on the food or liquids that you are trying to swallow (this is a more extreme brain function problem that is often seen in more cases of head trauma than in MS, but this is also a possible symptom of MS if the demyelination of certain parts of the brain are severe enough)

* Memory
– this can be mild to severe or it can be constant or intermittent (comes and goes sort of randomly).

* Cognitive – this includes a whole host of brain functions including our abilities to connect with our surroundings and register what is going on around us, the ability to logically think through a situation or a problem, solving puzzles and problems, understanding what other people are saying to you, comprehending how what is going on around us relates to us

* Bladder control – loss of bladder control or incontinence, bladder drains when it should not be draining, bladder retains when it should drain, frequent bladder infections can result

*  Bowel control – loss of bowel control, intestines empty partially or totally without much warning, end up with diarrhea too easily and too often

* Detoxification problems – the main parts of the body that eliminate toxins from the body start to function improperly, including frequent constipation, problems with liver functioning less or not functioning much at all, intestinal pain or discomfort, frequent nauseousness after eating, problems with the lymph system not draining as it should causing more frequent problems with allergies (both food, trees or pollens, dust, and/or chemical allergies)

* Weakened Immune System – frequent infections can result, difficulty fighting off infections, have too many infections too close together, like the body can recover very easily from each infection before it contracts the next infection

* MS fatigue - this can be an overwhelming exhaustion that is not relieved by resting or sleeping more.

* Reduced stamina - this goes along with ms fatigue, but this refers more to where exerting yourself at all can result in making it where you just appear to run out of energy with doing much less with any task that you set out to do.

* Hands - difficulty picking thinks up, holding things, or writing, difficulty holding a spoon or fork to feed yourself, hand pain, hand numbness, hand spasms, if severe enough nerve damage results in the lack of being able to use one or both of the hands.

If any or most of these MS symptoms are present, this can become more than just annoying...it can become very upsetting at times.

Often MS symptoms can cause the body to function less to the point that there are things that you could do before you were diagnosed with MS.

The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can often be severe or at least reduce how much we can physically, mentally and emotionally function, but the situation is not as hopeless as it may appear initially. 

We have found that in our own case of Multiple Sclerosis that there are alternative and natural ways that can help to reduce both how severe and how frequently the symptoms of MS can become.

These ways can include:

* MS diet and dietary changes

* Restoring MS vitamin deficiencies -- this is accomplished through MS diet changes, juicing, grinding whole foods, taking vitamins, herbs and other supplements.

* Reducing MS stress

* Exercising to help strengthen MS muscles and help redevelop nerve pathways to help our bodies start to function again

* Detoxifying the body

The more severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis can result in MS disability, that can reduce function severely or not as severely.

If MS symptoms are severe enough then at times it may be necessary to find help to provide the additional Multiple Sclerosis care that is needed to help to take care of those with sever disabilities that can be a direct result of the damage and scarring that can result from Multiple Sclerosis.

Family members are often turned to first for assistance for those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, but at times, depending on how severe the ms symptoms and ms disability has become, a visiting home health care nurse, or other medical professional that is trained in assisting those with MS may have to be located and paid for to provide better assistance. This depends on each case of Multiple Sclerosis.

Finding ways to reduce your over reaction to MS stress makes a very big difference in how severe or how frequent you symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can become.

Both the internal and external reactions to stress have been found to aggravate and make even worse the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, than they were before the over reaction to stress occurred, for the majority of people diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

To find out more information about Multiple Sclerosis
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