How Common Is Multiple Sclerosis?

How Common Is Multiple Sclerosis?

People may develop many kinds of neurological disorders, some with symptoms more manageable than others. If you find yourself experiencing numbness in your limbs, dizziness, and frequently having trouble walking, you may be seeing the first warning signs of multiple sclerosis. But medicine like ketamine may help.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling illness that affects your spinal cord and brain (your central nervous system). For this reason, it’s considered a chronic neuroimmunological disorder. If you have MS, your immune system launches an attack on myelin, the protective fatty insulating system covering nerve fibers. It can also trigger communication troubles in your brain and throughout your body. Ultimately, it can cause permanent injury or weaken the nerves, but proper treatment can manage the symptoms.

Know the Symptoms

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis may vary from person to person. Two of the primary symptoms of the illness include tiredness and problems when walking. Other symptoms, which can be treated, may consist of the following:

  • Numbness or feebleness in one or multiple limbs.
  • Electric-shock sensations with certain neck movements.
  • Partial or complete loss of vision.
  • Slurred speech, dizziness, tingling sensations.

Is Multiple Sclerosis Fatal?

Many healthcare professionals will tell you that MS is rarely fatal, with the average life expectancy of those affected equaling about 93 percent of someone without the condition. But in some cases, mobility problems may force you to use crutches, a cane, or other devices. The good news is that life expectancy for most people with MS has risen over time, often resulting from better treatment and better healthcare and a better understanding of how lifestyle changes can positively impact. Overall, someone with MS may only live about seven years less than someone without the condition, mostly resulting from disease complications or other medical problems.

Risk Factors

If you’re worried you may have multiple sclerosis, there are risk factors that are useful to be aware of:

  • Viral infections like optic neuritis and other medical problems.
  • If you’re between 16 and 40 years old and develop MS symptoms.
  • Your gender as it affects younger women more than younger men.
  • MS sometimes runs in families, and there could be more than one genetic anomaly to blame. Someone with a family history of immune system problems is also at greater risk.
  • MS is more common in people of European descent.

How Common Is Multiple Sclerosis?

About one million adults in the U.S. live with multiple sclerosis. It usually affects about twice as many women as men, and most people with MS develop the condition between 20 and 40 years of age. 

Globally, it’s a bigger problem with an estimated 2.8 million people living with it (or about 35.9 per 100,000 population). Overall, instances of MS have gone up everywhere since 2013, but the accuracy of some estimates is disputed.

How many kinds of multiple sclerosis are there? There are four:

  • Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) occurs when someone experiences an initial episode of MS symptoms. But not all people with CIS will develop the condition.
  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). This is regarded as the most widespread kind of multiple sclerosis. People with RRMS have outbreaks, also called relapse or exacerbation, of new or deteriorating symptoms. But periods of remission can follow when symptoms become steady or disappear altogether.
  • Primary progressive MS (PPMS). Someone diagnosed with PPMS has symptoms that gradually worsen without episodes of relapse or remission.
  • Secondary-progressive MS (SPMS). In some instances, someone initially diagnosed with RRMS can eventually get secondary-progressive MS. With secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis, you continue accumulating nerve damage, and symptoms progressively worsen. Symptoms may increase and cause relapses or flare-ups, but you won’t have periods of remission afterward as symptoms stabilize or subside.

But symptoms are manageable.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Getting an accurate diagnosis can be difficult. Recognizing and treating MS as quickly as possible can help slow down the disease’s march.

If your primary care provider suspects you may have MS, you will need to see a neurologist. There is no definitive test to confirm or rule out MS. Still, your healthcare provider may carry out blood tests, assess overall health, check personal and family history, and perform a complete neurological examination.

Certain physical and psychological therapies and medicine can treat MS symptoms and newer treatments such as ketamine.

Final Thoughts

If you suspect you have multiple sclerosis, and a diagnosis ultimately confirms it, there’s no reason why you can’t have a fulfilling and productive life. Ketamine therapy can help manage MS symptoms, while lifestyle changes and alterations to daily routines are also often successful. A key to a healthy life with MS is perseverance.

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