A Three-Pronged Approach To Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and often progressive disease that causes destruction of the myelin sheath, which is responsible for conduction of nerve activity. Although there is no cure, many people with MS manage to slow the progression of the disease and delay significant disability.

Control The Immune Response

Gaining control over the immune system response that is the underlying cause of MS is imperative to delay significant damage associated with the condition. Unfortunately, standard treatments to control the disease are only available for primary-progressive and relapsing-remitting variations of MS. There are many more options available for relapsing-remitting MS. In general, the medications available help suppress the immune system with the goal of stopping the immune system from attacking the nerve sheath. Finding the right medication for MS can be frustrating since it may take time to find one that suppresses symptoms, but it is important to stick with treatment.

Stop Flares

Specifically, people with relapsing-remitting MS will experience flare-ups of the condition that warrant additional medications in hopes of stopping the flare. During a flare-up, significant symptoms might develop, such as incontinence, limited mobility, or vision loss. In some instances, the symptoms might resolve once the flare-up is under control, with little or no residual effects. Generally, people with relapsing-remitting MS are treated with steroids during a flare. The faster a flare is brought under control, the less likely there will be permanent damage to the affected nerves. Severe flare-ups might warrant in-patient treatment, such as large doses of intravenous steroids.

Address Individual Symptoms

Since the overall course of MS is typically progressive, there may be permanent changes in function that must be treated. Some people with MS may develop long-term problems with their digestive system, such as constipation because of slowed intestinal motility. Your doctor might prescribe stool softeners or other ongoing treatments to help alleviate constipation or other symptoms that can occur when the digestive system slows. Physical therapy is a common treatment for people with MS whose condition has progressed to affect mobility. Keeping the joints and muscles mobile can make it easier to preserve remaining mobility and possibly delay the need for a wheelchair. As with many chronic illnesses, treatment for mental health can be invaluable for living with the condition.

MS is a complex condition, as each case is unique and can take a different course. Finding a treatment to help control the underlying disease and minimize flare-ups will give you the best chance at reducing or delaying long-term effects. Get in touch with a center such as North Texas Neuroscience Center PA for more information.