In Spain, about 55,000 people suffer from multiple sclerosis, a chronic and neurological disease that is one of the main causes of disability in young adults, as the first symptoms usually appear between the ages of 20 and 40. Thus, it is essential to diagnose the disease as early as possible in order to slow down its progression and improve symptoms, which are not the same in all patients.
Because it all depends on the areas of the central nervous system that are affected, “any neurological symptom or sign can be part of the multiple sclerosis symptomatology,” he says on the occasion of World Multiple Sclerosis Day (May 30). Ana Belen Caminero, coordinator of the Demyelinating Diseases Study Group of the Spanish Society of Neurology (SEN).
In spite of everything, the most common symptoms are usually the following:
- mobility problems
- vision problems
- balance and coordination problems
- sensitivity disorder
“And like the symptoms, the course and severity of the disease can also vary greatly,” the expert says. However “in 85% of patients, multiple sclerosis occurs as flare-ups, which are episodes of neurological deficit as a manifestation of lesions occurring in the central nervous system,” explains Dr.
According to SEN data, “in Spain, multiple sclerosis is diagnosed each year in approximately 2,500 people aged between 20 and 40 years, making it the second most frequent cause of disability among Spanish young adults. “. After epilepsy, it is also the “second most common neurological disease in Spanish youth”.
But why exactly does this happen, what are the reasons for the appearance of this disease? Why are cases increasing? According to SEN data, the number of patients with this disease has increased by about 20 per cent in the last five years.
Causes and treatment of multiple sclerosis
One of the reasons is improvements in diagnostic techniques such as increased treatment options, but also, “for reasons that are still unknown,” explains Caminero. And it is that “we are seeing an increasing number of new cases in the women and child population,” he says.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unclear. But according to the investigation done, “It is believed to occur genetically in people exposed to certain environmental factors such as infection, vitamin D deficiency, smoking … and perhaps certain hormonal factors that affect women.” doubles the risk of developing this disease,” says the expert. The incidence in Spain is approximately 4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and 3 out of 4 patients are women.
Another environmental factor mentioned on its official website Multiple Sclerosis Spain (EME) is the intestinal microbiota, known as the second brain, a modifiable factor that may participate in the genesis of multiple sclerosis. We cannot forget that multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system in the following way: “The disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin (a protective layer of neurons that conducts nerve impulses when affected). reduces or shuts down the immune system) thus causing the various symptoms of the disease”, explains Caminero.
In spite of everything, it is important to highlight the great progress made in terms of medical treatment, which has “evolved in recent years, but not only pharmacologically, but also from a rehabilitative point of view,” says Dr. Berta. Andres, coordinator of the Neurophysiotherapy Study Section of SEN.
“There are many studies that confirm that the different therapeutic modalities used in physiotherapy help to improve physical aspects such as mobility or muscle strength, which has a positive impact on the quality of life and well-being experienced by the patient. The feeling of fatigue is reduced. For this reason, we emphasize the importance of patients with multiple sclerosis being able to receive adequate neurorehabilitation within their multidisciplinary treatment, starting at the onset of disability. seeks to delay and maximize the personal autonomy of those affected”, they conclude from SEN.