Treatment of multiple sclerosis abroad
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic condition that affects the central nervous system. This incurable disease is considered to be an autoimmune disease.
In most cases this leads to disability as it causes irreversible neurological problems. In recent studies have shown that improvement in the patient’s life quality and expectancy is possible. This is associated with the dynamic development of the healthcare system in the prosperous country.
Causes of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of unknown cause however a genetic background and external negative factors play a key role in the development of this disease.
Risk of the multiple sclerosis is increased by:
- Genetic background (frequency of the number of sufferers in the family is 5%)
- Viral infections (rotavirus, herpes)
- Exposure to toxins and radiation
- Place of residence (living in some geographic zones are a higher risk than others)
- Low level of lithic acid in the blood
- Lack of sunlight
Stress and vaccination against hepatitis B can influence the onset of this disease however, it is yet to be proven as a cause.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
It’s impossible to diagnose multiple sclerosis based on the symptoms alone, as they are unspecific. They are similar to other symptoms for many others pathologies of the nervous system. Symptoms can be absent at the early stages of the disease.
First signs of the pathology are:
- Weakness in the legs
- Sensitivity disorders on certain areas of the body
- Lhermitte's symptom means the sensation of electric shock through the spine
- Blurred vision
- Unsteady gait
- Nystagmus (highly frequent rhythmical movements of eye)
A patient can have just one or several symptoms at the same time. Further, other clinical signs can appear:
Paresis mostly affects lower limbs. A sufferer feels weakness and cannot fully perform voluntary movements. Spastic paresis causes the increase of muscle tension. Symptom worsens when the patient is in a vertical position.
Ataxy is determined by the damage to the cerebellum. It is hard for a patient to hold his/her body in a stable position. He can’t balance and experiences titubation. Sometimes patient loses the ability to evaluate the distance and the size of objects. Scanning speech is also a common sign of multiple sclerosis.
Tremor means that the patient’s limbs are shivering and movements are wide. This can spread throughout body.
Reflexes change. Tendon and periosteal reflexes strengthen. There are cross-reflexes on the feet and cremasteric reflex drops. The abdominal reflexes weaken. 30% of patients have primitive oral reflexes if they suffer from multiple sclerosis.
Other clinical signs are:
- Pelvic organs disfunction
- Pain in the limbs, eyes, bladder
- Tonic seizures
- Neurosis-like issues
- Mental health problems arise
Peculiarities of neurologic symptoms of multiple sclerosis are:
- Unstable symptoms. They change every several days or even hours.
- Clinical signs are manifested more so than the organic changes. E.g. there can be signs of optic neuritis while examination didn’t show any changes of the fundus.
- Symptoms worsen under the influence of high temperatures (e.g. deeper paresis when a patient takes a bath or visits a sauna).
Diagnostics of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is best diagnosed using an MRI. McDonald criteria is used most often. MRI reveals "dumb" foci of demyelination (without clinical manifestations) to evaluate the development of the disease.
Other research methods include:
- Analysis of the cerebrospinal fluid (detection of antibodies, indicating an autoimmune lesion of the central nervous system)
MRI is conducted in 1-2 months to establish a fact of a progressing pathology and diagnose the multiple sclerosis without further deterioration.
Treatment of multiple sclerosis abroad
Multiple sclerosis is conservatively treated. Thanks to improved healthcare systems, patients who suffer from this illness tend to preserve their work capacity and are able to ensure a better quality of life in recent years. European hospitals, Germany is particular are the best place to undergo treatment to achieve the best possible results.
Main goals of the treatment are:
- Prevention of aggravating symptoms, increased remission period
- Aggravations block
- Reduction of residual neurological effects after acute attack
- Patients’ lifestyle adjustment and their rehabilitation
- Elimination of symptoms
There are many forms of conservative therapy for multiple sclerosis that help achieve good results. New medicines or their combinations are constantly being tested.
Stem cells treatment is also being evaluated nowadays. Specialists use:
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Neural stem cells
These tests are not yet over, but in some countries patients are already been treated with stem cells therapy. It is said to considerably slow down the development of the illness.
Multiple sclerosis - Prognosis
There are several ways which multiple sclerosis can take its clinical course. Most common variant is the remittent course , which is the case in 85% of patients. It’s been characterised by short acute periods and long remission periods. In most favourable cases the acute attacks last less than 24 hours and first remission lasts several years.
Eventually the patient’s condition worsens gradually. Residual effects can linger after each acute period and then they increase. Remission periods become shorter and shorter. This means a stage of a secondary progression course. It is common for 50% of patients who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago. Secondary progression course is experienced by 80% of patients after 25 years from the time of diagnosis.
A less favourable prognosis is characteristic for the primary progression course of multiple sclerosis (15% of patients). In this case symptoms keep growing steadily. Remission periods are either absent or they are very short lived.
Life prognosis is mostly favourable for patients with multiple sclerosis. But progressing neurological disorders lead to disability. This therefore negatively impacts the patient’s earning capacity. Disability usually appears within 5-10 years after the diagnosis.
While the outcome for this illness cannot be guaranteed, due to the peculiarities of its clinical course. It is possible to experience a better quality of life if one is treated with highly advanced medical care. This can be provided in most German hospitals or other countries with high end research and medical approach to such an incurable disease.