How Long Will It Take To Recover From Neuromyelitis Optica & How Long Do The Symptoms Last?

Neuromyelitis Optica refers to a condition of the central nervous system in which mainly your eyes and your spinal cord are damaged. This condition is also known as Devic’s disease. This condition develops when your body’s immune system attacks and damages its own healthy cells from the central nervous system. This condition cannot be cured. However, the symptoms can be managed, and further attacks can be prevented with proper management.(1)

How Long Will It Take To Recover From Neuromyelitis Optica?

The attacks of neuromyelitis optica may be spaced days, weeks or months apart. Between the two attacks or flare-ups, the person may experience some recovery. However, complete recovery is not possible. Attacks can be prevented with proper management, however, each new attack if and when it comes, damages newer areas of myelin every time causing more and more damages.(1,2)

Hence, prevention of attacks through proper management is essential for long-term recovery.

How Long Do The Symptoms Of Neuromyelitis Optica Last?

The attacks in this condition may come at an interval of days or weeks. This is known as monophasic NMO. The attacks may come after a long duration. This is known as relapsing NMO. Either way, the symptoms come and go. But, when they come back, they may be much worse than before. Though the symptoms may not last for much time, each time they come they can cause severe damage to the myelin at new places(1, 2)

Symptoms Of Neuromyelitis Optica-

The signs and symptoms of neuromyelitis Optica may be classified under two categories. These comprise of-

Optic Neuritis-

  • Optic neuritis refers to the inflammation of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying information from your eye to your brain.
  • There may be a sudden or abrupt pain in your eyes.
  • Other symptoms like inability to see clearly, blindness may follow later.
  • These signs and symptoms in only one eye. However, it is not unusual that they occur in both eyes.(1)

Transverse Myelitis-

  • This condition refers to the inflammation of the spinal cord.
  • This inflammation can impact your limbs and can cause weakness, pain, numbness or even paralysis.
  • As a result of this condition, you may lose control over bowels and bladder.
  • There may be other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, hiccups, headaches, stiff neck, etc.
  • In children, there may be confusion or delirium, seizures, or they may land in a coma.(1)

Treatment For Neuromyelitis Optica-

Neuromyelitis Optica cannot be cured. Long term remission can be achieved with the help of the right treatment methods. Some treatment methods may reverse the symptoms of NMO and may be useful in preventing any further attacks of NMO. These may include-

Reversal Of Recent Symptoms-

  • In the beginning stages of this condition, corticosteroids like methylprednisolone are given intravenously in your arm
  • This is usually given for around five days and then tapered off slowly before stopping completely
  • This may help in reversing your symptoms to a good extent
  • Plasmapheresis known as plasma exchange is carried out as first or second treatment and is usually given in addition to steroid therapy.
  • In this method, the blood is removed from the body and then blood cells are separated from the fluid (plasma)
  • The blood cells are then mixed with a replacement solution and the blood is returned to the body
  • Medicines can also help in managing other symptoms like pain or muscle problems.(3)

Conclusion

Neuromyelitis Optica cannot be cured completely. The attacks of this condition may be spaced days, weeks, months or years apart and the symptoms may go away. Some recovery may be possible in between two attacks; however, the next attack that comes may be much more severe, because every new attack damages newer areas of myelin every time.

References-

  1. https://www.webmd.com/brain/neuromyelitis-optica#1
  2. https://www.medicinenet.com/devics_syndrome/article.htm#what_is_the_prognosis_for_neuromyelitis_optica
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neuromyelitis-optica/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20375655

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