May 30 is World Day for Multiple Sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Photo: Prati-Donaduzzi Press.
The World Multiple Sclerosis Day, which is celebrated on May 30, is aimed at raising awareness of the disease, which, according to estimates by the Brazilian Multiple Sclerosis Association, affects around 40,000 Brazilians. The date was created to unite people with the pathology around the world, as well as to promote awareness of the subject.
Multiple Sclerosis is a neurological disease, which is considered to be autoimmune, progressive and chronic. For reasons that might be genetic or environmental, there is an imbalance in the patient's immune system, which begins to attack the myelin sheath (a layer of adipose tissue that protects their nerve cells), compromising the function of the nervous system.
In general, Multiple Sclerosis affects people between 20 and 40 years old, causing motor and sensory disorders and may present different initial symptoms. “Most people start to have motor problems at the beginning of the disease, but the first symptoms can also be a vision impairment or a mental problem”, says the doctor invited by Prati-Donaduzzi, Eduardo Motti.
There are different types of the disease:
- Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) - has periods of improvement, and other relapses, which can last from days to years.
- Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS) – characterized by a more severe condition in which the patient does not recover from crises and is left with permanent sequels, such as total loss of vision.
- Progressive- Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (PRMS) – when the disease develops more rapidly and aggressively.
- Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) – has the characteristic of gradual worsening of the disease.
Diagnosis is based on clinical study and patient-reported signs, which are analyzed and confirmed by a neurologist. In order to help confirm the suspicion of Multiple Sclerosis, the specialist shall order blood tests, in addition to imaging tests, such as MRI. In this way, it is possible to carry out a deeper assessment, discarding the possibility of an erroneous diagnosis.
The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis might be confused with other illnesses and have an intermittent characteristic, that is, they may appear and disappear periodically. Motti explains that, in the case of motor problems, for example, it may seem that the patient has had a stroke. Therefore, the signs need to be monitored and evaluated by a specialist physician, who, monitoring the patient, will be able to precisely define the diagnosis.
The main symptoms resulting from Multiple Sclerosis are:
- Vision problems such as blurred vision;
- Muscle rigidity;
- Urinary urgency;
- Memory and attention lapses;
- Numbness and tingling in different parts of the body;
- Problems with maintaining balance;
- Difficulty walking.
Multiple Sclerosis, as an autoimmune disease, has no cure, but existing treatments have good efficacy against the main symptoms and help the patient to live with more quality and comfort.
The main aims of the treatment are to reduce the most critical phase of the disease and try to extend the interval between outbreaks. For this purpose, drugs are used to control the immune system, which makes it difficult for the body's defense cells to attack. The aim is to prevent crises from happening.
In addition to medical monitoring and use of medications, it is recommended that patients do physical activities to strengthen their bones and help fight the effects of the disease on the body, as well as physiotherapy to help with the reformulation of the motor act, together with periods of rest to avoid unnecessary efforts. “Motor rehabilitation carried out through physiotherapy and physical activities is an important aspect of treatment”, concludes the doctor.
* This content is prepared by Prati-Donaduzzi pharmaceutical industry, which aims to bring more information about health to the population. The company also provides physicians with exclusive access to content on various pathologies, among other materials on the website: https://www.evolucaoparavida.com.br/.
Prati-Donaduzzi, a Brazilian pharmaceutical industry, is specialized and a benchmark in the development and production of generic drugs. Headquartered in Toledo, Western Paraná, it produces approximately 13 billion therapeutic doses per year and generates more than 4,600 employments. The industry has one of the largest generic drug portfolios in Brazil and it has been working in the area of Medical Prescriptions since 2019.