Multiple sclerosis, known as MS, is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, feeling and thinking.
Your nerves have a protective coating called myelin that helps your brain and spinal cord communicate with the rest of your body. With multiple sclerosis, that myelin coating is attacked by your immune system, disrupting nerve signals and triggering symptoms. Multiple sclerosis often starts with mild symptoms and follows a relapsing-remitting course with flare ups but can often progress to be more severe, causing permanent disability.
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes MS, but there appears to be both genetic and environmental links. Sometimes diagnosing Multiple sclerosis can be difficult because there are many other diseases that cause similar symptoms.
Your doctor will spend a lot of time focusing on your medical history, asking questions about current and past symptoms. You will also have a comprehensive neurologic examination and blood tests. An MRI of your brain and spinal cord is often used to show damage (scars) caused by multiple sclerosis. Your doctor may also order a lumbar puncture, or spinal tap, to run tests on your spinal fluid.
Although there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, your Mercy doctor will put together a comprehensive treatment plan to help you reduce attacks, prevent disability, manage the symptoms and maintain your quality of life. Your care plan might include:
Mercy doctors are highly experienced diagnosing and treating multiple sclerosis, we’ll be there for you and your family with all the support you need.