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About 400,000 of the 1.1 million worldwide sufferers of multiple sclerosis live in the US. It is an autoimmune disease which affects the brain and spinal cord. Hard scar tissue replaces the myelin sheaths of neurons which results in disruption of nerve impulses. The condition is progressive and degenerative. Hereditary factors account for about 20% of MS cases. Symptoms of MS can vary and are often misdiagnosed. Common symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, loss of coordination, loss of balance, difficulty walking, bladder dysfunction, bowel dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, double or blurred vision, ophthalmic pain or vision loss, tingling in hands or feet, numbness in hands or feet and weakness in arms or legs. Other less common symptoms include seizures, hearing loss, dysphagia, difficulty swallowing, itching, headache and muscle spasms. Secondary symptoms may include chronic urinary infections, slurred speech, forgetfulness, confusion, weakness, bone density loss, difficulty breathing. Bedsores become common as the disease progresses and the patient is less mobile and depression is prevalent at all stages of MS. Some patients are not affected badly and can lead normal lives. There is no cure but treatment may include corticosteroids, beta interferons or tizanidine hydrochloride. Other medications may be used to treat the various symptoms that occur such as fatigue and bladder problems.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Express Newsline
About: Multiple sclerosis occurs in 1.1 million people worldwide
Date: 13 January 2005
Source: Express Newsline
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