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Multiple sclerosis: a disease that affects your neurons

  • Early diagnosis can help control the disease.
  • Multiple sclerosis affects people of productive age.

More than 2.3 million people around the world have multiple sclerosis; one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system.

Multiple sclerosis disrupts the normal functioning of the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord, causing the loss of physical (for example, difficulty walking) and cognitive (such as memory loss) functions.

This is an inflammatory and neurodegenerative disease in which the immune system destroys myelin, which is a coating that protects nerve fibers, which affects the conduction of electrical impulses to and from the brain.

The nerve damage is caused by inflammation, and these injuries are those that produce several of the symptoms of multiple types of sclerosis, such as blurred vision, numbness, tingling in different parts of the body, dizziness, fatigue and cognitive changes, among others.

For each patient, the way forward for the adequate care of the disease is different because the symptoms vary; For that same reason, in some cases, the diagnosis of the disease takes some time. To determine whether or not this condition is involved, the doctor will collect a series of data and perform several tests to begin by ruling out other diseases with similar symptoms.

Among the most common symptoms of this disease are: fatigue, pain, decreased bladder control, sexual dysfunction, movement and coordination problems, visual problems, emotional and cognitive changes.

Although predicting the development of this condition or the symptoms that you will suffer is not possible, determining the type of sclerosis you suffer if it is and can help you prepare to face it.

“Research in multiple sclerosis is increasingly focused on understanding the importance of reducing brain atrophy and the importance of preserving the brain in the early stages of the disease. That is why we insist on early diagnosis because it is a key factor to give adequate treatment from the early stages and improve the patient’s quality of life, ”said the Spanish neurologist, Dr. Javier Montalbán.

Statistics indicate that, without proper treatment, only 50% of patients with multiple sclerosis will have work ten years after diagnosis. Hence, early and effective treatment is critical.

Three different clinical forms of this disease are described:

  • The first is known as relapsing multiple sclerosis, RRMS, which is characterized by attacks (or outbreaks) with worsening of neurological function, followed by periods of improvement in which the patient recovers partially or entirely. 80% of patients start with this clinical form.
  • EMSP progressive secondary sclerosis, which is characterized by the accumulation of permanent disability between relapses.
  • And the last type, the progressive primary EMPP, in which the symptoms gradually get worse over time from the beginning without relapses. It is the least common cynical form.

“Although there is no cure yet, if different therapies are available that can alter the course of the disease, delay its progression, improve symptoms and reduce the risk of relapse,” explained Dr. Montalbán.

Novartis offers oral therapy for recurrent remitting multiple sclerosis, which has been shown to be effective in the four key parameters of disease progression: relapses, injuries, disability progression, and loss of brain volume. This is known as NEDA4 (No Evidence of Disease) and is achieved when there is control over those four parameters.

About Novartis

Novartis provides innovative health solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Based in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to meet these needs: innovative medicines better,

Vision care and generic pharmaceutical products that save costs. Novartis is the only global company with leadership positions in these areas. In 2016, the Group achieved net sales of USD 48.5 billion, while R&D throughout the entire group amounted to approximately USD 9.0 billion.

The Novartis Group companies employ approximately 118,000 full-time associates. Novartis products are available in more than 1155 countries around the world. For more information, please visit https://www.novartis.com

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