Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica Awareness month

February 21st, 2020

By Valsfactory

March 1st marks the beginning of the MS and NMO (also called Devic’s disease) awareness month.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks myelin, the outside layer of nerve cells.

Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is also an immune system attack. However, in this condition, the attack is focused only on the central nervous system (CNS). It’s sometimes just called neuromyelitis or Devic’s disease.

NMO is a rare disease that damages the optic nerve, brain stem, and the spinal cord. The cause of NMO is an immune system attack on a protein in the CNS called aquaporin-4.

It leads to optic neuritis, which causes pain in the eyes and loss of vision. Other symptoms can include muscle weakness, numbness, and bladder control problems.
MS attacks the entire CNS. It can affect the optic nerve, spinal cord, and brain.

The symptoms include numbness, paralysis, vision loss, and other problems. Severity varies greatly from person to person.

MS and neuromyelitis differ in the impact that episodes have on the body.
Symptoms of MS attacks are less severe than NMO attacks, especially in the early stages of the disease. The cumulative effects of these attacks can become very serious. However, they may also have a limited impact on a person’s ability to function.

NMO attacks, on the other hand, can be severe and lead to health problems that can’t be reversed. Early and aggressive treatment is important in reducing the harm caused by NMO.

NMO doesn’t have a progressive course like MS can. The symptoms in NMO are due only to attacks

Nearly 2.3 million persons are affected by MS in the world, whereas only around 300 000 persons are diagnosed with NMO. It is therefore still categorized as a rare disease

Both MS and NMO are incurable. There’s also no way to predict who’ll develop either of the diseases.

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