Various remedies other than conventional treatment are available to manage the symptoms of neuromyelitis optica. The condition causes fatigue, visual problems, muscle weakness and paralysis in patients.
Home Remedies For Neuromyelitis Optica
The symptoms of neuromyelitis optica can be managed and the condition cannot be cured. The condition may be kept in remission through various treatment including conventional, alternate and home remedies. However, the risk of relapse is always there. Following are some of the options for managing the symptoms of neuromyelitis optica:
Exercise: Although in some patients with neuromyelitis optica, exercise seems to a difficult task because of severe muscle weakness and stiffness. However, with the guidance of physiotherapy expert, most people able to regain the lost muscular strength and can perform their routine activities which seem almost impossible a few months back. Exercise may be either moderate or strenuous and balancing or strengthening. Exercise helps in improving muscle tone and muscle strength.
Healthy Diet: As the patient suffers from weakness and fatigue in neuromyelitis optica, the diet should be such that it provides all the necessary nutrients required to maintain sufficient energy level. The patient should avoid foods that have a high risk of generating free radicals. These free radicals further damage the nerves. Such foods include excess sugar and salty foods, and saturated fats. The patient should take a healthy diet.
Rehabilitation4: Rehabilitation centers are quite helpful in improving the functional efficiency of the patients. While fatigue is managed with rest between therapies, spasticity is controlled by stretching of muscles.
Rest: Rest is the key to gain energy. The patient should not get fatigued either through exercise or through routine activities. Proper rest should be done to improve physical strength.
Avoid Sedentary Life: Sitting at a place for a long period increases muscle stiffness. The patient should take breaks between long hours of work.
Treatment Options For Neuromyelitis Optica
Neuromyelitis optica is not a common disease. The condition is also known as Devic’s disease. The patient suffering from neuromyelitis optica experiences visual disorders and muscular problems. The condition is primarily caused due to the attack of the immune system on the optic nerves and nerves of the spinal cord. The condition comprises of two broad categories of symptoms i.e. optic neuritis and transverse myelitis1. This condition is sometimes confused with multiple sclerosis as both of them are autoimmune diseases. However, there are various distinctions between both conditions. One of the major distinctions is there is a blood test for neuromyelitis optica which tests the presence of specific antibody while there is no blood test for multiple sclerosis.
There is no cure for neuromyelitis optica. Various treatment options are available to manage the symptoms. These treatment options include:
Steroids: Steroids are used to manage the inflammation at the early stage of neuromyelitis optica. Methylprednisolone can be given intravenously to such patients2. The patient may also be advised to take oral steroids to prevent inflammation.
Pain Killers: Anticonvulsant drugs such as carbamazepine is administered to alleviate pain and muscle stiffness. The drug also improves urinary problems and muscle spasm.
Immunosuppressive Drugs: As the condition is caused due to a hyperactive immune system, various drugs are used to suppress the immune system. These drugs are known as immunosuppressive drugs. Azathioprine is prescribed in some cases. Recently, eculizumab has been approved by USFDA for the treatment of neuromyelitis optica. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe a combination of immunosuppressive drugs and steroids.
Plasma Exchange Therapy: This therapy is used when the steroids fail to provide relief from inflammation. The inflammatory antibodies are removed from the blood. The blood is removed and the blood cells are separated. The blood cells are then again infused in the body along with fresh fluid3.
Neuromyelitis optica has no cure thus treatment aims to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. Rest, exercise and rehabilitation help in regaining the lost muscle tone and strength.
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