One of the challenges of diagnosing and managing early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) is the condition’s unpredictable nature. Those with MS may experience chronic, severe symptoms or be largely symptom-free. So what are the first signs of having Multiple Sclerosis?
The early signs of MS can be varied or overlap with symptoms of other illnesses. However, a proper diagnosis is critical, as early MS treatments can delay the disease’s progression. Most adults with MS in the U.S. receive their diagnoses between the ages of 20 and 50.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
As an autoimmune disease, MS occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy cells. Patients with MS experience attacks on the nerves’ protective coating, called myelin or the myelin sheath. Attacks on myelin damage the nerves, causing problems throughout the central nervous system.
As the attacks seem to target nerves at random, symptoms vary widely.
What Are the Early Signs of MS?
Some of the more common early signs of MS include:
Tingling and numbness
Balance problems or dizziness
Muscle spasms or cramps
In some patients with MS, the condition initially presents with neurological symptoms that have no other known cause and last at least 24 hours. These symptoms are known as a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).
CIS doesn’t always lead to MS, but since CIS results from demyelination or damage to the myelin that occurs with MS, it often serves as an early sign of the disease.
For example, a CIS episode could include optic neuritis resulting from damage to the myelin of the optic nerve that causes eye pain and vision issues. Another condition associated with CIS is transverse myelitis, which can cause muscle weakness or numbness.
There isn’t a standard test to diagnose MS. Instead, most physicians start by ruling out other medical conditions with similar symptoms. For example, Lyme disease, diabetes, nerve damage, and lupus are sometimes mistaken for MS, and vice versa.
After a thorough exam and medical history, your doctor may request testing to determine whether you have MS. Blood tests, a spinal tap, and an MRI can help your physician rule out other conditions or identify telltale signs of MS, such as lesions on your brain or spinal cord.
Most patients have relapsing-remitting MS, which typically allows for a more straightforward diagnosis. However, those with unusual symptoms or an uncommon disease progression may require further testing.
Many patients are discovering the promising therapy of regenerative medicine. This therapy utilizes stem cells to offer a new alternative option to potentially help repair damaged tissues, reduce inflammation, and slow down the progression of MS.
Those looking for options when traditional medicine has not provided ideal results or has not been successful may want to explore this therapy to see if it is for them. To learn more about the options you have after you see the first signs of having Multiple Sclerosis, contact a care coordinator today at Stemedix!
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the brain, spinal cord, and the rest of the central nervous system. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states there are, on average, one million people in the United States living with this disease.
One treatment that has the potential of offering an improvement in the symptoms of MS is biotin. Learn what biotin is and what it can offer.
What Is Biotin?
Biotin is also known as vitamin B7. It is one of the B-complex vitamins essential for nerve cell metabolism and is present in many foods, including:
Soybeans and other legumes
Biotin is a part of enzymes that break down fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, and other substances. It also has links to healthy nails, hair, and skin.
How Biotin Can Help Combat MS
Biotin can work to combat MS by stimulating enzymes that help produce more myelin. Myelin is a layer that wraps around your nerves and increases the rate at which electrical impulses travel, and when the immune system targets and damages myelin, multiple sclerosis develops.
Having healthy levels of myelin makes it possible for nerve cells to communicate better, which can relieve symptoms of MS and might even slow the disease’s progression. As such, a supplement such as biotin that encourages myelin production can be very helpful in managing MS.
In some studies, people with MS saw an improvement in their vision upon taking biotin. Another study showed that those taking high doses of biotin felt a reduction in pain levels as well as a boost in energy and a reduction in paralysis.
Learn More About Biotin
Biotin has the potential to offer relief from symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Whether it is the right choice for you will depend on many factors, including your doctor’s recommendations.
If you have MS and are interested in exploring biotin, contact us to learn how you can order today.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks myelin, the protective sheath that covers nerves and causes progressive and serious communication issues between the brain, central nervous system, and the rest of the body.
Currently, it’s estimated that over 2.3 million people worldwide, and over one million people in the US have a diagnosis of MS.
While there have been significant improvements in treatments designed to stabilize, delay, and even improve symptoms of MS, new and more effective treatments are needed to improve the long-term outcome associated with the condition.
One area currently being investigated as a potential therapeutic option for treating MS is the use of regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, and specifically treatment using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
In this review of evidence from preclinical and clinical studies, Gugliandolo et al. examine studies involving the use of MSCs or their derivatives in vivo models of MS and patients affected by MS. The authors also examine and discuss the feasibility of autologous MSCs therapy for MS patients.
Specifically, and when assessed in terms of effectiveness when treating MS, the therapeutic potential of MSCs was associated with their differentiation capacity and paracrine effects, their ability to differentiate toward oligodendrocytes and express oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) markers, and their capacity for homing (moving towards the damaged area following chemical gradients).
As part of this review, the authors also examined the effectiveness of various sources of MSC in MS models, these sources included bone marrow MSCs (BM-MSCs), adipose tissue-derived MSCs (AD-MSCs), periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs), skin-derived MSCs (S-MSCs), Wharton’s jelly-derived MSCs (WJ-MSCs), human umbilical cord MSCs (UCMSC), human amnion mesenchymal cells (AMCs), placental derived MSCs (PMSCs), and decidua derived MSCs (DMSCs). According to the research reviewed by Gugliandolo et al., all MSCs, regardless of where they were harvested from, demonstrated beneficial effects in the therapeutic treatment of MS.
Specifically, the results demonstrated that MSCs were able to produce some form of protective effects in reducing inflammatory cell infiltration, disease score, demyelination, and blood-brain barrier disruption.
A review of 29 phase 1 or 2 clinical trials registered on clinicaltrials.gov demonstrated that MSCs, regardless of the type and method of administration, demonstrated to be safe and absent of severe adverse effects with the majority demonstrating measurable improvements when used in MS patients.
While clinical trials demonstrated the safety of administration of MSC in MS patients, the authors were particularly interested in learning if autologous MSC transplantation presented some advantages over heterologous administration.
The authors of this review found that samples obtained from healthy controls and MS patients showed similar features, indicating the possibility of autologous stem cell therapy in MS patients. However, other studies found that MSCs obtained from MS patients exhibited a different transcriptional pattern and fewer immunosuppressive functions compared to healthy donor MSCs.
Gugliandolo et al. point out that limits to these experimental studies include the use of animals of a single gender, given that sex-dependent differences exist and the use of different MS models, different number of transplanted cells, different MSCs sources, and routes of administration. These limitations make it difficult to define the optimal treatment in terms of cell type, dose, and administration conditions.
The authors conclude that clinical trials demonstrate the safety and feasibility of MSCs treatment, and also some improvements, but more data on larger cohorts are required to establish their efficacy. Considering the controversial results pertaining to the features of MSCs derived from MS patients, the authors also call for additional research in order to conclusively determine the safety and efficacy of autologous MSCs therapy in MS patients.
Muscle spasticity is one of the most challenging symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Patients with MS often experience a tightening or stiffening of the lower body muscles in the legs, groin, buttocks, and back.
Muscle spasticity can affect the ability to stand, walk, and balance and is one of the biggest detriments to a patient’s quality of life. Muscle spasticity can worsen during quick stretches or movements. However, when done correctly, gentle stretches can help patients manage spasticity effectively.
While lying on your back, bend your knees at a 45-degree angle, draw them together, and gently let both knees lower to one side, holding for 30 seconds. Then pull the knees back to the center and slowly lower them to the other side.
In this hip stretch, your goal is to decrease tightness, not get your knees to the floor, so only lower them as far as it feels okay. Keep your arms out to the side in a “T,” palms down. Move slowly.
Hip Flexor Stretches
Lying on your back, rest on the lower half of your bed with your knees and lower legs hanging off the edge. You should feel a stretch in your hip flexors located at the front of your hip. Aim to build up to a 30-second, then 60-second hold.
Placing a rolled-up towel on the floor, step on the towel with the ball of your foot, keeping your weight on the back of the foot. Then, step the opposite foot slightly forward, still maintaining the weight on the back of the foot, stretching the calf.
When seated, place a rubber ball on the floor and roll your foot over the ball, paying particular attention to places on your foot that lack feeling or feel disengaged.
While seated, hold a rolled towel at both ends, wrapping the towel under one foot. Lift the foot and towel with both hands and try to keep the leg extended for up to 30 seconds.
Tips for Exercising with Muscle Spasticity
Muscle spasticity affects everyone differently. If you experience muscle spasticity when extending your legs, avoid stretches that straighten the knee and hip to that point. Also, patients who incorporate stretches regularly see the most benefits and better movement.
The neurodegenerative condition known as multiple sclerosis (MS) causes chronic inflammation within the central nervous system. For decades, clinicians and researchers have tirelessly studied MS to understand the condition better and develop more effective treatments.
Recently, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health concluded a study that examined the link between the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis. They found “compelling evidence of causality” between EBV and MS.
Researchers analyzed data from over 10 million active-duty U.S. military personnel during the study. Of these participants, 955 received an MS diagnosis while serving.
Researchers reviewed serum samples that were collected biennially in order to check for the presence of EBV. As a result of the study, researchers discovered that soldiers were 32 times more likely to develop MS after experiencing an EBV infection.
However, it is essential to note that MS symptoms typically do not manifest until approximately ten years after patients acquire an EBV infection. Researchers theorized that this delayed onset might be partially attributed to ineffective MS diagnosis protocols, as early symptoms are difficult to detect.
What This Means for MS Patients
Currently, no effective EBV infection treatments or preventatives exist. However, researchers are optimistic that the development of an EBV vaccine or antivirals could pave the way for a multiple sclerosis cure.
In the meantime, patients suffering from MS should continue to work with their primary care providers to mitigate the impact of symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.
For those seeking an alternative treatment option, stem cell therapy has shown some promise for treating neurodegenerative conditions like MS. Stem cell therapy may yield several positive benefits such as a reduction in muscle spasticity, improved balance, increased energy, and reduced muscle pain.
What if there was one simple thing Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients could do every day to increase energy levels, reduce fatigue, and help prevent the chance of injury from falls?
Great news—there are simple exercises you can do at home without expensive gym memberships or special equipment. Try these stretching, strengthening, and balance moves to help improve your overall wellness.
Marching in Place for Balance
Stand with your feet about hip-width apart. Contract your abdominal muscles, and slowly bring one knee off the floor in a marching position. Lift the thigh parallel to the floor if you can.
Pause for a count of three, and slowly lower the leg. Repeat on the other side. Continue for five repetitions, working your way up to 10–15 repetitions.
Wall Push-Ups for Stretching and Upper-Body Strength
Stand or sit facing a wall, approximately two feet away, with your feet together. Place both palms flat on the wall with arms straight at shoulder height, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Lean in, keeping elbows tucked to your sides. Bring your nose close to the wall, and feel the gentle stretching in your calves and chest. Hold for one breath, checking to make sure your back is straight.
Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat three times, building to as many repetitions as you can.
Single-Leg Pose for Balance
Do this exercise while holding onto a chair or table for stability, especially if you have problems with balance or are receiving treatment for a neurodegenerative condition.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lift your arms parallel to the floor, keeping one hand on a stable surface. Straighten one leg in front of you with your heel a few inches off the floor.
Hold and balance for up to 30 seconds. Lower your foot back to the ground. Repeat on both legs for three repetitions.
Over Head Press for Upper-Body Strength
Use lightweight dumbbells for this exercise. If you don’t have weights, try using soup cans or full water bottles.
Holding your weights, stand (or sit) with a straight posture, arms out to your sides, and bent upward with your hands at ear height. Stretch your arms up, keeping your back straight and lifting the dumbbells over your head. Your biceps should be close to your ears. Return to the starting position. Repeat ten times.
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