What Are Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons?

in Disease

Facing some debilitating diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS) means that Patients have to undergo a gradual reduction in their body's ability to perform voluntary muscular functions. There are many cures for these slow diseases. Current treatment often includes of medications and techniques to slow down the signs of disease and the impairment of the body. Scientists are not sure the causes of these diseases although there are cases that show that a small number of sufferers may inherit them.


Multiple sclerosis is a disease that causes the immune system of your body to consume the protective covering over your nerves. This leads to irreversible nerve damage. The degree and impact of the disease relies on which nerves are affected. The disease can develop at any age, but generally strikes those between 20 and 40 and women over men. Though the effects are fleeting in the beginning, those with MS will experience a gradual deterioration. A positive attitude is just as important to the treatment of the disease as any medical therapies.


A shortage of dopamine in the brain is the cause of Parkinson's disease. This chemical acts as a messenger, so low dopamine levels mean that signals in the brain are not getting through. Parkinson's typically shows up mid to late in life as a tremor in one hand. Men are affected more often than women are. Gradually, it affects speech and movement, causes muscle rigidity and can even impair memory and involuntary movements such as blinking. It is thought that ongoing exposure to pesticides and herbicides may increase the risk of Parkinson's.


While those with MS or Parkinson's can live a long life with the disease, those with Lou Gehrig's disease do not. ALS causes the nerve cells in your muscles to die over time. Symptoms begin with slurred speech or a twitching of the hand or foot. Eventually ALS patients lose all muscle function, including the ability to chew, swallow, speak or breathe. Most ALS patients will eventually require the use of feeding tubes and breathing apparatus to sustain life. ALS also significantly increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's. Many people who develop ALS die within three to five years after contracting the disease due to respiratory failure. It typically strikes people between the ages of 40 to 60, and more men than women are affected.


These diseases are often hard to detect and are not discovered until the definitive onset of symptoms. Since there are no specific tests available and the early symptoms are generally mild and are shared by many other ailments, diagnosis is a long and stressful process. Maintaining a positive, healthy attitude during diagnosis and treatment, as well as trying to retain as normal a life as possible is vital. Drug therapy, combined with movement therapy and traditional physical therapy help to drastically improve the quality of life for these patients. The use of aids such as walking aids and motorized chairs can prolong the period of independence and functionality as well, allowing patients to experience greater satisfaction with their lives.


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Laura Bramble has 1 articles online

Laura Bramble is a freelance writer living in Atlanta. You may view more of her work at walkers for seniors or walkers with wheels

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What Are Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinsons?

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This article was published on 2010/07/19