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Video: 10 Important Facts About Multiple Sclerosis
10 important facts about multiple sclerosis
Every year, on the last Wednesday of May, many countries around the world celebrate World Multiple Sclerosis Day. It was established in 2009 to help people understand this disease, draw attention to it, and support patients and their families.
Photo: Dr. John Zajicek
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease
This means that the patient's immune system perceives its own tissues as pathogenic, and attacks them, for example, as a result of a viral or bacterial infection, if the surface receptors of viruses and bacteria have a similar structure to the receptors of normal cells of the body. However, the exact causes of this disease are still unclear, only risk factors (including smoking) have been identified. This means that there are no methods of full treatment and prevention of the disease. Scientists around the world are constantly working on the development of new drugs and methods of treatment for multiple sclerosis, new opportunities are emerging to improve the quality of life of patients and prevent severe exacerbations.
The disease affects the brain and spinal cord
In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheath of the nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord is affected, and a scar appears at the site of the lesion. Patients suffer from paralysis, problems with balance and cognitive impairment begin, and changes in the functioning of the sense organs occur.
The uniqueness of symptoms is the main difference between multiple sclerosis
In other words, each patient has their own symptoms - blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, numbness, fatigue, problems with video memory, concentration, paralysis, blindness, and much more. There are no two patients with the same symptoms. In addition, the symptomatology is inconsistent - the symptoms of the disease can appear sharply and suddenly disappear after a short period of time.
Women get sick more often, but men get sicker
The disease affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide. Moreover, women get sick more often, but a severe progressive form of multiple sclerosis usually manifests itself in men. Occasionally, the disease is diagnosed in children. In 2018, the Ministry of Health announced that 82.2 thousand patients were registered in Russia, and over five years the number of patients with this diagnosis increased by 20 thousand people. Perhaps the increase in the number of cases is associated with new diagnostic possibilities.
Asians are less susceptible to disease than Europeans
The spread of multiple sclerosis depends on the geographic latitude. The zone of the highest risk - 30 or more cases per 100 thousand of the population - is noted in the northern part of the continent. The risk of developing multiple sclerosis is associated not only with place of residence, but also with race and ethnicity. To a greater extent, the disease is common among people of the Caucasian race, while multiple sclerosis is very rare in Japan, Korea and China.
This is not a disease of the scattered and forgetful
The disease has nothing to do with absent-mindedness, incoherence and other character traits, which in everyday life are ironically summarized by the word "sclerosis". "Sclerosis" in this case means "scar", and "scattered" means "multiple", since a distinctive feature of the disease is the presence of sclerosis foci scattered throughout the central nervous system without a specific localization. In English, this disease is called multiple sclerosis.
Not hereditary or age-related disease
There is no evidence that multiple sclerosis is a hereditary disease, but some genetic changes increase the risk of developing the disease. At the same time, multiple sclerosis is a disease of young people, as a rule, it manifests itself at the age of 25-40, that is, among the most able-bodied part of society.
Multiple sclerosis is difficult to detect early
Primarily because early symptoms are very easy to ignore, blaming fatigue or other illnesses. For early diagnosis of the disease, the so-called MacDonald criteria are used, which link the frequency and severity of exacerbations of the disease and the presence of clinical manifestations of sclerosis foci, as well as MRI data.
This disease has many varieties
The most common type of disease course is relapsing-relapsing, characterized by exacerbations and remissions, but without an increase in symptoms between exacerbations. The most severe form of multiple sclerosis is Marburg disease (a variant of Marburg), which kills in a few months.
There are many celebrities among people with multiple sclerosis
For example, the famous miner Alexei Stakhanov, the poet Yuri Tynyanov, the British actress Margaret Leighton, and the drummer of the Iron Maiden band Clive Barr suffered from multiple sclerosis. It is known that this disease was diagnosed in the American TV presenter Montel Williams, the Russian singer Vladimir Kuzmin, and the star of the movie "Cruel Intentions" Selma Blair. Ozzy Osbourne's son Jack announced his illness to the public.