About 2.3 million people worldwide are affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). It is a progressive disease with symptoms that get worse over time. The condition can onset any time from childhood to older adulthood. However, symptoms and their rate of progression vary. Each patient’s experience with MS is unique.
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease for which there is no cure. Treatments fall into two categories: 1) therapies to manage symptoms and 2) therapies to improve the immune system.
What Causes MS?
The most recent understanding of multiple sclerosis is that it is an auto-immune disease, meaning the immune system attacks the central nervous system. Over time, the attacks cause direct damage, resulting in permanent disability to movement, vision, or cognition. Younger people are especially vulnerable to the neurological disabilities MS can cause.
There are four main types of multiple sclerosis:
- Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form. Patients can have long periods of patient or complete remission when no symptoms are experienced.
- Secondary progressive MS is often considered to be a progression of RRMS. Gradually worsening symptoms replace acute, relapsing attacks.
- Primary progressive MS affects around 10 percent of all MS patients. With this form of the disease, symptoms tend to progress steadily from onset without remissions.
- Progressive relapsing MS is the rarest form of MS. There are no remission periods with this type of MS. Patients may experience a steady decline in function and occasional flare-ups that may not go away.
Treatments for Multiple Sclerosis
Traditional treatments include drugs to reduce the activity of the disease by modulating the immune system. Exercise, physical therapy, speech therapy, and other cognitive therapies may help manage symptoms and retain or regain function.
Regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy, offers a new alternative option for MS patients with the potential to rejuvenate damaged cells, specifically the myelin sheath tissue. Stem cell therapy may be able to module the immune system and temporarily stop it from attacking healthy cells in the central nervous system.
Stem cell therapy is not a cure for MS, but studies have shown its potential for treating many kinds of neurodegenerative conditions. By replacing damaged cells with healthy new ones, Regenerative medicine may decrease and control symptoms caused by MS, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions. Stem cell therapy is not FDA-approved as a treatment for MS but has been studied to be safe. Each patient must consider the information and make health-care decisions they believe are best for their unique situation.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for multiple sclerosis, also known as stem cell therapy for multiple sclerosis. Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.