JEDDAH: The Kingdom is joining other countries on World MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Day in promoting awareness-raising and educational programs.
The chronic autoimmune disease mainly affects the central nervous system, resulting in a range of symptoms that vary in intensity from one person to another.
There are three types of MS: Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), Secondary-Progressive MS (SPMS) and Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS).
The Ministry of Health aims to raise awareness about the disease and provide the best services to treat it in the Kingdom’s hospitals, particularly as the disease is known to be the most common neurological disorder among youth.
MS affect different parts of the central nervous system, including the spinal cord and nerves.
The ministry said that MS can be diagnosed based on symptoms, linking them to when and how they happen, assessing the patient’s condition, reviewing their history and conducting clinical tests, and by using assessments such as blood tests, spinal taps (to detect any abnormal changes) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
World MS Day is marked on May 30 every year and aims to address the social barriers and stigma that may result in loneliness and isolation in people suffering from it, to build societies that support and care for MS patients and to enhance MS patients’ self-care and healthy life.
MS causes damage in the protective sheath (myelin) that covers nerve fibers, leading to communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body. Its symptoms appear suddenly and vary in intensity based on the affected part of the body and degree of injury.
Patients experience numbness or tingling in their limbs, a lack of coordination, weakness or spasm in the muscles and blurry or double vision or color-vision deficit. Other symptoms include fatigue, slurred speech, memory problems and inability to make decisions, problems with bladder and bowel function, forgetfulness and loss of concentration, depression and epilepsy.