Finding out you have multiple sclerosis (MS) changes your life. But with the right care and support, you can manage your MS and live as fully and independently as possible. The Tulane Health System Neuroscience Center can help you take control.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. As damage builds, it blocks or slows messages between your brain and the rest of your body.
The severity of MS can widely vary. Some people have few or mild symptoms, while other lose the ability to write, speak or walk. Symptoms usually start between ages 20 and 40, which are usually some of the most productive and active years of a person’s life. Symptoms of MS can include:
- Blurred vision, double vision or loss of vision
- Unsteady gait (walk)
- Cognitive impairments (in some cases)
There is currently no cure for MS, but symptoms can be managed with medication and rehabilitation. Without successful management, symptoms will usually worsen over time. People with MS can also be at risk for depression. Because MS affects so many aspects of person’s health and life, a comprehensive, coordinated approach is critical.
Diagnosis and Treatment
No specific test can tell you or your doctor that you have MS. The disease is usually diagnosed through an evaluation of symptoms and medical history. Lab tests can help rule out other diseases or conditions. Our team is highly experienced in diagnosing MS and evaluating its severity. Armed with this knowledge, we can work with you and your doctor to create an effective treatment and management plan.
Though no cure for MS has yet been found, research is promising, and symptoms can be managed so that you can live as fully, enjoyably and independently as possible. Some medications have been shown to help prevent or reduce symptoms. Others, such as steroids and muscle relaxants, can help to reduce the severity of attacks as well as symptoms.
Physical, occupational and speech therapy are usually a big part of managing MS. Therapy can help you preserve function and make the most of your capabilities in your daily life.
Many organizations offer help and support for you and your family. Our team can help you find resources to meet your specific needs. Here are a few places to start:
- Medline Plus, from the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine pages on multiple sclerosis and peripheral nerve disorders
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke MS information page
- National Multiple Sclerosis Society