Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease affecting women more than men by ratio of 2.1. It is a long lasting disease and causes major disabilities that are permanent and debilitating.

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The major symptoms of multiple sclerosis include. dizziness, easy fatigability, blurry vision, change in gait, problems with bladder and bowel functions like diarrhea or constipation, depression, etc.

There is no cure for this disease; only supportive management can be done with the help of rehabilitation therapies and certain drugs known as disease modifying drugs and corticosteroids. Maintaining proper diet and exercise is also very helpful in patients with multiple sclerosis.

Can You Catch Multiple Sclerosis From Another Person?

No, multiple sclerosis is not a contagious disease and hence you cannot catch multiple sclerosis from another person. MS is an autoimmune disease and till date there is no evidence that this disease has been transmitted from one person to another. (1)

It is also found that this disease is not a hereditary one but if your immediate relative has MS then you are at an increased risk of suffering from multiple sclerosis. It has also been found that if you have mutation of the gene NR1H3 there are chances that you may develop MS rapidly.

The exact cause of multiple sclerosis is not yet known but there are certain risk factors and environmental factors that can lead to MS.

Causes and risk factors of multiple sclerosis are the following.

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Gender. Women are more commonly affected than men. The women to men ratio of disease causation are 2.1.

Immune System. In MS there is malfunctioning of the immune system due to which the myelin sheath of the nerves is being attacked leading to demyelination of the nerves. The factor that causes activation of this immune response is not known yet.

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Age. Most commonly seen in the age group of 16 to 50 years.

Climate. More commonly seen in the people living in temperate zone.

Family History Of Multiple Sclerosis. People who have first-degree family members suffering from multiple sclerosis are at higher risk for developing the disease.

Vitamin D Deficiency. People who have deficiency of vitamin D are found to be at greater risk developing MS.

Smoking. People who smoke are at higher risk of experiencing relapses than non-smokers.

Infections. People who have infection due to Epstein-Barr virus are at higher risk of developing multiple sclerosis. This virus is responsible for causing infectious mononucleosis.

Symptoms And Signs Of Multiple Sclerosis

The symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis vary depending on which part of the brain or spinal cord is being demyelinated by the immune system. The signs and symptoms comprise of.

Visual disturbances. Blurry vision or double vision (diplopia), this occurs due to damage to the optic nerves.

Problems with coordination. For example- difficulty in walking

Malfunctioning bladder. This includes urinary incontinence, increased frequency of urination, etc.

Multiple sclerosis is a non-curable disease. It can be managed conservatively. The treatment options include corticosteroids, disease-modifying drugs and rehabilitation. The patient must avoid certain food items that may worsen the condition like gluten, foodstuffs high in saturated fats, milk and dairy products, refined sugars, etc.

Proper diet must be maintained for patients with MS. Regular exercise also helps in better prognosis of the disease. Other activities like yoga and meditation are also very helpful for people with multiple sclerosis. When all these measures are taken together, the prognosis becomes better and the disease progression slows down.

Conclusion

Multiple sclerosis is not a contagious disease. MS is an autoimmune disease. In this disease there is triggered immune response that attacks the myelin sheath that covers the nerves. Due to this immune response, there is demyelination and this leads to damage to the nerves and their improper functioning.

Till date no case have been reported where the disease has been transmitted from one person to another. So you cannot catch multiple sclerosis from another person.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472772/

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Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: April 17, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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