Doctor, what’s wrong with me?You have multiple sclerosis

Many, many times, patients ask during consultations… Dr. Nico, what’s wrong with me? At that moment, I sat up, moved closer to his side, leaving the protection and safety of the medical desk for us, and with empathy, affection, but no deception, I gave his disease a name,… You have hardened hair. The mere mention of it causes concern in those who hear it and has a huge emotional impact on those who suffer from it.

Its “notoriety” is that it is the main cause of acquired disability among young adults aged 20-40 after traffic accidents, with the incidence rate accounting for 1/1000 of our country’s residents. The wonderful immune system that protects us from viruses, bacteria, and tumor cells can become overzealous in recognizing proteins as foreign substances, destroying the myelin that covers the fibers of the brain and spinal cord. This “self-inflicted injury” can produce neurological changes for a short period of time, called “flares,” which over time can produce other chronic injuries, which are the main cause of disability progression in subsequent decades.

Predisposing factors for developing the disease include: Caucasian race, genetic factors, low vitamin D levels, female gender (2-3 times more common), infection (Epstein Barr leading to mononucleosis or more commonly known as “kissing disease” virus) and lived in our childhood and adolescence at latitudes far away from Ecuador.

In the most common form, or “flare,” patients may develop within hours: 1) Optic neuritis or loss of vision and difficulty distinguishing colors; 2) Diplopia, or double vision in both eyes, resulting in covering one or the other with the hand. one eye to eliminate schizotypal images, 3) vibratory vision or feeling the environment move, 4) sensory disturbance, where the patient notices a “tingling” or numbness in the eye. Different areas; shocks in the back, bending of the neck or “Lhermitte” sign 4) Weakness in the limbs 5) Unsteadiness or lack of coordination 6) Incontinence or feeling of incomplete emptying.

Our society is learning more and more about this disease, and diagnostic tests such as magnetic resonance imaging and lumbar puncture cerebrospinal fluid studies are helping to diagnose the disease earlier and earlier. This allows treatment in the initial stages, significantly reducing the development of new impairments and disabilities due to long-term accumulation. Although this is a serious disease, the future is promising and over the past decade, with the new drugs available to us and the multidisciplinary support of psychologists, physiotherapists, associations, family and friends, functional outcomes for patients have improved. significantly improved.

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