Multiple sclerosis is also a disease of young people

Multiple sclerosis is also a disease of young people
Multiple sclerosis is also a disease of young people

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system. It damages the protective covering of the nerves (neurons) that transmit messages to all parts of the human organism, playing a special role in controlling muscle and sensory activity. Multiple sclerosis is thought to be an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body's immune system starts attacking itself. Further damage to the protective covering of nerves, called myelin, leads to a process known as demyelination, in which the covering gradually breaks down.

So these nerves gradually lose their ability to transmit messages. Messages "leak" from the nerves where the demyelination process has begun, similar to the loss of electrical current in an uninsulated cable. As the messages "leak", the information becomes insufficient and erroneous, leading to increasing difficulty in controlling muscles or certain sensory activities in different parts of the body.

Which nerves become demyelinated, in what sequence, and at what rate varies among individuals, so the corresponding loss of muscle or sensory control also varies widely. Even when there is damage to myelin, it is gradually repaired (ie remyelination occurs) through the body's internal repair mechanisms. Also, the "inflammation" in the area of damage often decreases over time.

In multiple sclerosis, the rate of recovery is slower than the rate of myelin damage, so the damage gets worse and worse and the condition of the central nervous system worsens. This damage leads to the formation of plaques and lesions that take the form of multiple patchy scars (hence the name multiple sclerosis) with manifestations of demyelination.

According to statistics, people between the ages of 20 and 50 are usually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and this disease is generally considered a disease of young people. The disease can also occur outside of this age range, but it is less likely, though not impossible, to receive a similar diagnosis if you are under 20 or over 50.

Most studies show that more women than men are diagnosed with this disease (a ratio of 1.7 to 1 is the most common in studies). It is also more common in white people than in people of black African (Afro-Caribbean) or Asian descent. Geographically, people who live in latitudes with more temperate and cooler climates are more likely to get multiple sclerosis, while the disease is less common in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.


The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are many and they appear to a greater or lesser degree. Some of them are more debilitating, others cause more inconvenience. These may include, for example: problems with urination and bowel functions; pains and changes in the senses and dizziness; tiredness; cognitive and mental problems and depression; mobility problems; speech and feeding difficulties, as well as vision and hearing problems.

Managing the symptoms of this disease is often a very complex process. They can be wide-ranging and so variable that they often require a variety of strategies: lifestyle changes, drug therapies, psychological or counseling support, appropriate physical, speech, and occupational therapies, use of equipment, environmental modifications, and surgical intervention. intervention in some cases.

Generally speaking, it is difficult to recognize what the usual symptoms of the disease are, if by usual we mean those that are constantly present in every patient. In fact, one of the characteristics of multiple sclerosis is the variability of symptoms, which results from the different parts of the nervous system affected by the disease.

Some people experience one or two attacks and then have no new symptoms for many years. At the other extreme are people who undergo an almost continuous progressive course, with no clearly discernible remissions or relapses, expressed in a general deterioration, either of sensory or muscular functions, or of both at the same time. Between these two extremes is the most common pattern of multiple sclerosis, which consists of short periods of attacks separated by longer attacks of partial recovery, i.e. remissions.


To date, there is no scientifically proven effective medicine against multiple sclerosis. The onset of the disease cannot yet be prevented, although experts know that direct blood relatives have a greater risk of the disease. When doctors or other he alth workers talk about curing this disease, they don't mean a permanent cure.

There are some ways to improve the condition such as alleviating a symptom or its effects; preventing or reducing the severity or duration of an attack; support for the earlier initiation of remission, as well as changing various aspects of lifestyle, which will help the patient cope better with the disease.

The life expectancy of patients with multiple sclerosis is relatively close to that of the rest of the population. It is also encouraging that since the 1960s, the increase in the life expectancy of people with multiple sclerosis has been moving at a faster pace than the rest of the population.


Recent studies on the prevalence of multiple sclerosis indicate that the number of reported cases is greater compared to previous studies in the same or similar geographic area, i.e.f. patients with multiple sclerosis are increasing. For example, the number of patients with this disease in Great Britain has doubled in the last three decades.

However, we need to clarify - this does not mean that most people "caught" multiple sclerosis (it is not an infectious disease) or that there is some other cause (hereditary or environmental) that caused it this greater number of patients. According to experts, the increase is due to several factors: Partial improvements in the he alth care system, and in particular the opportunities for examination by a neurologist, have led to an increase in the number of people officially and correctly diagnosed.

In addition, it is possible that the possibility of diagnosis has also increased, ie. people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed at an earlier age than in previous periods. There is an aging population and longer life expectancy, which has led to an increase in the number of people between the ages of 25 and 65, when the disease is most likely to occur. People with multiple sclerosis today have a much longer life expectancy than in the past. They now live approximately 11 years longer than people who had it three decades ago.


The causes of this disease are still unknown. The most likely cause is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. A study of identical twins, in which one or both have multiple sclerosis, is the surest way to test this theory. Thanks to the research, it is clear that genetic factors make up between 30 and 35 percent, and the features of the environment - about 65-70 percent of the total share of reasons for the occurrence of the disease. There is no single cause of multiple sclerosis.


In general, women are more likely to receive this diagnosis and the ratio is 1.7 to 1 in favor of the fair sex. Also, women are diagnosed at an earlier age and therefore there is an even greater difference in the sex ratio under the age of 30, i.e. there are many more women under this age with multiple sclerosis than men.

However, with advancing age, the first symptoms of the disease appear much more often in men (after the age of 40), and they also develop its progressive type more often. It is quite possible that some of these differences are related to the biological or hormonal characteristics of the sexes, although the nature of such a relationship is not yet fully understood.

As for the second question, the exception is people with multiple sclerosis-like symptoms at an earlier age, who are, however, diagnosed after the age of fifteen. If you or someone you know has symptoms similar to those of multiple sclerosis, at the age of fifteen or younger, the likelihood that you will have this disease is very small. However, symptoms should be monitored, as many other diseases have symptoms similar to those of multiple sclerosis. Their manifestation is more often random and episodic, but some of them can be very serious, and a very small part can be fatal if they are not treated.

These similar conditions are more common than the actual disease multiple sclerosis in children and adolescents. There are other symptoms seen in adolescents and children in which the demyelination process suggests a connection with multiple sclerosis, but they are not related to the disease itself, are extremely rare, and are usually hereditary. Most importantly, however, they have a different genetic profile than that associated with this disease.

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