Multiple sclerosis or MS is an immune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks itself. In the case of MS, the body attacks the myelin, or fat that surrounds and protects the nerves. During an MS attack, inflammation occurs in random areas of the central nervous system in patches called plaques. The destruction of the myelin occurs next. Once these myelin sheaths are attacked and destroyed the delicate communication process between the nerves, brain, spinal cord and the rest of the body are compromised resulting in decreased or complete loss of function. The name, multiple sclerosis, is for many – multiple, and scars – sclerosis.
People are generally diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 40 although it can exist in many who are currently living with undiagnosed MS. This is because the disease can wax and wane making it very challenging to accurately diagnose. Although the cause is not yet known it is theorized that a viral condition precipitates the onset of MS.
Types of MS
There are four courses of MS. Each one can be mild, moderate or severe. In addition the intensity of the condition can change over time; going into remission only to rear its ugly head again later down the road.
The Four Courses of MS
- Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)
- Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS)
- Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS)
- Progressive-Relapsing MS (PRMS)
Each of these types of MS has different characteristics. RRMS is the most common type of MS and is characterized by acute attacks then full recovery. PPMS has almost complete disability from the beginning with only mild improvements or remissions. SPMS has limited recovery between attacks and continual progression and worsening of symptoms. PRMS shows as complete disability from the onset with acute relapses and no recovery of significance in between attacks.
Symptoms of MS:
- Muscle Weakness
- Impairment of senses
- Speech and visual disturbances
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Cognitive abnormalities
- Sexual dysfunction
Some people with MS react with pain to heat and experience an increase in symptoms when heat is present either from hot outdoor temperatures or exercise induced heat.
Traditional Treatments of MS
Traditional treatments of MS are the use of highly toxic drugs such as steroids. Other commonly used drugs to treat MS are Valium, Klonopin, aspirin, acetaminophen, codeine, Cylert, Symmetrel, and antidepressants.
As with all pharmaceuticals, costs are high, side effects are extreme in some cases, and treatment is for the symptoms and not the actual disease. When it comes to MS, most medications are used to slow the progression of the disease but not cure it. There is currently no cure for MS.
All Natural, Alternative Treatments for MS
It is recommended that MS sufferers eat more fruits and vegetables that are organically grown. They should also avoid highly processed foods and hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. This includes polyunsaturated vegetable oils, margarine, vegetable shortenings, and deep fried foods.
It’s also highly recommended to use positive visualization and meditation techniques to relieve stress and help ease MS symptoms.
There has been recent speculation that increasing levels of vitamin D if you suffer with MS can be particularly helpful. This is an interesting approach that seems to work by increasing your safe sun exposure. It has been noted that people living in the Northern Hemisphere are much more likely to suffer with MS than those living by or below the equator.
If you or someone you love is living with MS, it’s vital to explore these all natural methods used to effectively relieve troublesome symptoms and provide some relief.