Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder of the central nervous system. This is the most common neurological disease in young people, affecting around 85,000 people in the UK. MS is usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old and affects women twice as often as men.
MS is a lifelong condition brought on through the demyelination (attack) of neurons in the central nervous system. Although incurable, the condition is manageable with the right treatment. MS is an autoimmune condition which means that the body's immune system, which fights off infections, confuses the body's tissue with a foreign body and attacks it. As a result, messages from the brain travelling along nerve fibres are slowed or distorted.
What causes multiple sclerosis?
The exact cause of MS is still unknown, however research has identified that it has nothing to do with lifestyle or behaviour, but suggests that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute and make some people more prone. Whilst most prevalent in adults, it has been diagnosed in children and the over 65's.
MS is more prevalent in areas further away from the equator. It is almost unheard of in Malaysia or Ecuador, but relatively common in Britain, North America and Scandinavia. Research has also shown that even if you move further away from the equator after the age of 15, your chances of developing MS still relate to your country of origin.
Symptoms of multiple sclerosis
MS can cause a broad range of symptoms, not all of which must be present in order for a diagnosis to be made. Different symptoms can appear at different times and while some are more common than others, there is no 'one size fits all' approach to the condition. Symptoms to look out for include:
- Difficulties with balance
- Decreased bladder control
- Constipation and bowel incontinence
- High levels of fatigue
- Memory lapses
- Mood swings, anxiety, depression
- Muscle spasms and stiffness
- Sexual problems, lack of libido, erectile dysfunction
- Speech and language difficulties
- Problems swallowing
- Loss of muscle strength and dexterity
- Temporary loss or blurring of vision
How the Priory can help
Priory has been helping to treat people with multiple sclerosis for over 25 years. We know that everyone's situation is different, which is why we ensure that everyone has a unique treatment plan tailored to their needs. The type and management of treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition.
The Priory offers inpatient and residential care for those people where remaining at home is no longer an option due to the progress of their condition. Priory staff are committed to providing a management programme which is individually based to meet specific needs, and includes members of the multidisciplinary team working to maximise potential and empower the individual to make active decisions regarding their care and management. We can provide a short respite service allowing relatives and carers to have a break, or it may be for rest for an extended period or for life depending on individual circumstances.