Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease, more common in young adults, which usually appears in the third decade of life, with twice the frequency in women.
Most cases are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although it can affect people between the ages of 2 and 75.
Although it is not a fatal disease, it is very disabling, significantly affecting all aspects of patients' lives.
This disease affects the central nervous system. The nerve fibers of cells in the nervous system are lined with a sheath called myelin, which is essential for stimuli to be properly propagated. In multiple sclerosis myelin is destroyed, thus preventing proper communication between the brain and the body. On the other hand, the inflammatory process that occurs in this disease damages the nerve cells themselves, causing permanent loss of several functions, depending on the affected territories.
The exact cause of this disease is not known, but it is admitted that several factors of a genetic, immunological, viral, bacterial, environmental nature (diet, industrial toxins present in the soil or water), reduced levels of vitamin D, allergies, physical trauma, etc.
The first symptoms may be of a sensitive nature, such as loss of sensation or tingling that start at one end and extend to the entire limb over 3 or 4 days. These symptoms can last for 1 to 2 weeks and then gradually disappear.
MS can initially manifest itself in other ways, with blurred vision, double vision, motor deficits, tremors, difficulty in walking, balance changes, speech difficulties, memory and concentration problems, fatigue, or even paralysis and complete loss of vision.
The symptoms will always be dependent on the areas of the nervous system where the loss of myelin occurs and the consequent inability to transmit nerve stimuli.
These symptoms can progress in several ways, as described above, appearing and disappearing or progressing gradually.
The evolution to complete paralysis is rare, although many patients will need assistance in walking, given the presence of fatigue, weakness and imbalance.
Multiple sclerosis has no cure and the available drugs can only "modify" or delay its evolution, reduce the frequency and severity of outbreaks, reduce the accumulation of damaged areas in the nervous system and help patients deal with symptoms.
The definition of the best treatment for each case will always depend on a medical evaluation.
The most commonly used groups of drugs include corticosteroids, which help to fight inflammation and interferons, which reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis outbreaks, while also reducing their severity and the damage caused by them.
In the most severe forms, medicines of another nature, such as cytostatics, can be used.
All of these treatments can be complemented with other types of support, defined according to the difficulties experienced by each patient.
Objectives of a rehabilitation program:
Sensitive- motor re- education
Relief from pain and spasticity
Training of speech disorders, swallowing, vision, cognitive changes
General physical reconditioning
Functional training and day-to-day activities
Improvement of gait, balance and coordination
Teaching and counselling of support products (orthotics, splints, etc.)
Return to work activities , daily life and sports activities