It is estimated that one in every 11,000-12500 people has Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The overall number of MS patients in India exceeds 1.5 lakh, according to reports. Multiple Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative illness that affects about 2.8 million individuals worldwide. In order to create awareness about the disease and to support everybody suffering from this ailment the World Multiple Sclerosis Day is observed every year on May 30. The theme for this year is Connections. ‘I Connect, We Connect,’ is the campaign’s tagline.
On this day, Dr Manjari Tripathi, Professor at the Centre of Excellence in the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, spoke with News18 about the disease and its symptoms. She explains that with MS, electrochemical signals from the brain to other regions of the body are blocked. As a result, the brain loses control over various parts of the body and the functioning and balance of muscles throughout the body degrade. This condition can also cause a sudden loss of eyesight.
According to health experts, the most alarming aspect of this condition is that it affects individuals, particularly those between the ages of 20 and 30.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Dr Manjari says myelin is a substance that shields nerve fibres in the central nervous system, allowing signals to move rapidly and easily between the central nervous system and the rest of the body. In MS, the immune system, which typically fights infections, misidentifies myelin as a foreign entity and attacks it. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the immune system to target myelin, but it’s likely a mix of hereditary and environmental factors.
What are the factors?
MS is not regarded to be a genetic disorder. However, relatives of a person with MS are at an increased risk of developing the illness than others, particularly siblings, parents, and children, says Dr Manjari.
In addition, several viral and non-infectious environmental variables could be the risk factors for MS. People who reside farther from the equator are more likely to get this disease. The cause for this is unknown, though there is emerging evidence that a lack of vitamin D is associated with an increase in the prevalence of various illnesses, including MS.
According to the MS International federation, many microbes (particularly Epstein Barr Virus) have also been said to be behind MS, however none of them have been proven yet.
What are the symptoms?
According to Dr Manjari, MS symptoms include impaired vision, limb weakness, tingling feelings, unsteadiness and weariness. MS is marked by periods of relapse and remission in some persons, while it progresses in others. It makes life uncertain for everyone who has MS.
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