It has been reported that there are approximately 2 million 800 thousand patients in the world and 50 thousand patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Turkey, and the disease is twice as common in women as in men, while smoking increases the risk of attacks in patients, and low vitamin D increases the risk of developing the disease.
Health Sciences University Lecturer and Neurology Specialist Prof. Dr. Vildan Yayla told Anadolu Agency (AA) that MS is a neurological health problem that affects the central nervous system such as the brain and spinal cord.
Stating that MS is thought to be an (autoimmune) disease caused by the body’s immune system, Yayla said that there is a myelin sheath that surrounds and protects the nerve fiber (neuron) and plays a role in signal transmission in the brain and spinal cord, for an unknown reason in people with MS. He explained that the body’s own defense mechanisms attack and destroy this sheath in the central nervous system.
Yayla stated that the damaged area in the nervous system started to suffer from any function of the body, and emphasized that this situation mostly leads to temporary dysfunction, and sometimes the damage can be permanent.
“MS, which is the neurological disease that causes functional limitation in young adults, is 2 times more common in women compared to men. It most frequently occurs between the ages of 20-40, but there are patients with early onset such as 10 years and cases starting after 40 years of age.” Yayla, who gave her information, stated that there are approximately 2 million 800 thousand MS patients in the world and around 50 thousand in Turkey.
Underlining that MS is not a fatal and contagious disease, Yayla stated that the probability of this situation in the child of a person with MS is approximately 1-2 percent.
“Symptoms must continue for at least 24 hours for attacks to occur”
Stating that the symptoms of the disease may vary from person to person, Yayla said, “It should also be noted that many of the symptoms can be seen in normal people, with vitamin deficiencies or with other diseases. In patients, all of these symptoms are not seen together, but one or more of them can be found together.” said.
prof. Dr. Highland fatigue, weakness, loss of strength in the face or one side of the body or both legs, numbness and tingling in the face or in one side of the body, numbness and tingling in the legs, numbness, blurred vision in one or both eyes, double vision, visual disturbances , muscle stiffness, urinary incontinence and frequent urination, speech disorder, intestinal problems, gait imbalance and sexual function problems are among the leading symptoms, he said.
Noting that MS-related complaints may appear during an “MS attack” and heal later, Yayla noted that some of them may be long-term permanent.
“In order for MS symptoms to be defined as an attack, they must continue for at least 24 hours. The diagnosis of MS should be made by a neurologist, preferably a neurologist experienced in MS. In this disease, which requires long-term follow-up and treatment, many diseases that can mimic MS, especially in the initial stages. The diagnosis may be doubtful in some of the patients.
If the diagnosis of MS is considered with the physical examination and history of the patient, the patient is subjected to brain Magnetic Resonance (MRI) and sometimes spinal cord MR examinations. To clarify the diagnosis, it may be necessary to take cerebrospinal fluid (lumbar puncture) from the patient, perform EMG examinations called evoked potentials, and some tests to exclude other diseases that may be confused with MS.
“Low vitamin D can increase the risk of MS”
Expressing that Mediterranean cuisine, vegetables, fruits and fish-based diets are a good nutrition program for MS, Yayla stated that salt should be reduced from foods.
“Smoking is harmful to MS as it is harmful to general health. Smoking may cause more frequent attacks and worsening of the disease in MS patients. Therefore, smoking must be stopped.
Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of MS. For this reason, MS patients should benefit from daylight, which is the most important source of vitamin D, and if necessary, they should use vitamin D supplements with the recommendation of their doctor.
Pointing out that the treatment of MS disease is personal, Yayla said that early diagnosis and treatment are important.
Yayla said, “MS is a disease that progresses with attacks. There are two types of treatment methods: short-term attack treatment during attacks and long-term treatments to prevent these attacks from occurring.” said.
Explaining that the treatment of attacks is in the form of cortisone treatment, which is usually administered with intravenous serum, as the most common form in Turkey, Yayla shared the following information:
“There are many long-term treatment options available to reduce the frequency of attacks and protect the person’s physical skills. As the first option, apart from needle treatments on certain days of the week, there are tablet forms used once or twice a day, as well as those who do not benefit from these treatments or who are in an overactive state. In some patients, there are treatment options that are administered intravenously once a month or every 6 months, or with different forms of administration. MS is now much better controllable. his situation is significantly decreasing. “