Multiple Sclerosis - Disease of Thousand Faces

What is multiple sclerosis? It is not quite simple to give exact information on multiple sclerosis. In spite of the great progress in research, MS has remained a puzzle with many questions since this disease was first described in 1868.

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Who Gets MS?

There are about 2,5 million people with multiple sclerosis worldwide. In the Czech Republic, the number of people with MS is estimated to be about 17,000. In the recent years, there have been 700 new cases diagnosed every year. 

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Symptoms of MS

The central nervous system (CNS, that is, the brain and the spinal cord) controls and coordinates all the functions of our organism. The damage to myelin and nerve fibres, which occurs with MS, disrupts the transmission of signals between the brain, the spinal cord and other parts of the body.

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Course of the Disease

The course of MS is different in each patient. With some people the course of the disease is relatively mild and the disease responds well to treatment; in some other people, the disease may quickly result in their disability without any response whatsoever to the most advanced treatment.

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MS Diagnostics

MS diagnostics has undergone a major evolution over the last 100 years. From mere definition of clinical symptoms, through emergence of electrophysiological and biochemical methods to triumphant confirmation of a diagnosis using the magnetic resonance.

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Pharmacotherapy of MS

Modern treatment of multiple sclerosis requires a comprehensive care of many different healthcare professionals in the field of neurology, physical therapy, emotional health, occupational therapy, cognitive and vocational rehabilitation, therapy for speech and swallowing problems, etc., and especially active and responsible aproach of the patient himself.

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Acute Treatment

Acute attack (relapse) is defined as new or recurring symptoms lasting at least 24 hours in the absence of fever or infection. Its treatment consists in administering corticosteroids, either intravenously or orally.

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Long-term Treatment

At present (since the year 2009 in the Czech Republic), it is possible to commence a long-term immunomodulating treatment of a patient as early as after the first clinical attack suspected of MS, if it was treated with corticoids.

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First Line Treatment

The basic pillar of the long-term treatment of MS has consisted of disease-modifying drugs (DMD) – interferon beta (INF-beta) and glatiramer acetate (GA) – in our country since the 1990s. 

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