Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease in genetically susceptible individuals. Inflammation leads to damage of the myelin sheath (protective insulation around nerves in the brain and spinal cord), which slows conduction along the nerve axon and leads to neurological symptoms. When the inflammation associated with an acute attack lessens the symptoms decline. There is evidence that the nerve axons are also damaged due to MS, and this damage is associated with permanent neurological dysfunction. The specific type of symptoms a patient experiences is related to the location of the lesions within the central nervous system (CNS). Although MS lesions tend to occur is 5 specific areas of the CNS (optic nerves, periventricular white matter, brain stem, cerebellum, and spinal cord), no region is free from susceptibility; therefore the possible clinical symptoms are widespread and may include:
- Cognition (Memory, attention, behavior)
- Emotional Function (Anxiety, depression)
- Sensory Functions and Pain (vision impairment, dizziness, tingling, neuropathic pain)
- Speech and Language Functions (dysarthria)
- Cardiovascular and Respiratory System Functions (impaired cardiovascular response to exercise, impaired body temperature regulation)
- Digestive System (reduced gut motility, incontinence)
- Genitourinary and Reproductive Systems (incontinence &/or retention, impaired sexual function)
- Neuromusculoskeletal and Movement-Related Functions (strength, range of motion, muscle tone, altered endurance, imbalance, incoordination, abnormal gait, dysphagia)
- Skin and Other Related Functions (High risk for skin breakdown ilater stages of disease)
A helpful plan for coping with the unpredictability and uncertainty of MS is to become educated on the possible symptoms and work with healthcare professionals such as physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and recreational therapists. Treatments are designed to help you manage the symptoms, prevent unnecessary complications, control disease progression and minimize disability. Medical psychology may also be helpful with emotional adjustment to the life changes you are facing as a result of MS.
At Sheltering Arms, our healthcare team offers a broad range of treatments dedicated to helping you find the power to overcome the symptoms of MS and a live full, productive life.
For more information about MS, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.
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To talk with someone about how Sheltering Arms can help you, call us at (877) 56-REHAB.