Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Gundersen Lutheran Neurosciences has specialists who are trained to help slow the disease, manage the symptoms and increase quality of life.
MS is caused by damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells, inflammation and damage to the nerve cell. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or interrupted. Damage to the nerve cell can be permanent.
MS is a progressive disease, meaning the nerve damage gets worse over time. How quickly MS gets worse varies from person to person. Most patients first begin to have symptoms between the ages of 20 - 50.
Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Some symptoms include:
- Loss of balance
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
- Tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs
- Weakness in one or more arms or legs
- Vision problems
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis at this time. However, there are therapies that may slow the disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms and help maintain a normal quality of life. Some of the medications that may be used include:
- Steroids to decrease the severity of attacks
- Medications to control symptoms
- Medications to slow the disease process
Gundersen Lutheran takes a team approach to treating people who have multiple sclerosis. Specialists involved in a patient’s care at the Gundersen Lutheran MS Clinic may include those from Neurology, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Pain Medicine, Urology, Behavioral Health, Ophthalmology, Physical and Occupational Therapy and more.
An MS certified nurse is also available to provide disease management training with patients. If a patient needs injected medications to manage symptoms, patients learn right at Gundersen Lutheran how to do their own injections.
For more information about diagnosis and treatment options available for MS, call Gundersen Lutheran Neurosciences at (608) 775-9000 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 59000.