Neuromyelitis Optica refers to a disease that impacts your eyes and spinal cord. Devic’s disease is another name for this condition. It is a very rare kind of disease. This disease occurs when your own immune system attacks healthy cells of the central nervous system in your body. The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord.(1)

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Is Neuromyelitis Optica A Progressive Disease?

Is Neuromyelitis Optica A Progressive Disease?

There is no progressive phase in this disease, unlike some other similar conditions like multiple sclerosis. The key to a good prognosis is the prevention of attacks in the first place.(2)

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Alternative Treatment For Neuromyelitis Optica

Alternative treatments like yoga and meditation, gentle massages can help to support the conventional methods of treatment.

Getting diagnosed with this condition can be quite stressful and getting stress relief by means of yoga and meditation can surely help in faster healing and better chances of coping up. However, these should be done under expert supervision and always after discussing with your doctor first.

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Symptoms of neuromyelitis optica include-

  • Neuromyelitis Optica may lead to blindness in one or sometimes both eyes.
  • There may be a weakness or loss of function or paralysis in limbs
  • Painful spasms and numbness or loss of sensation might be present
  • Vomiting and hiccups may be present
  • Uncontrollable bladder and bowel movements due to damage to the spinal cord
  • In children, there may be confusion or delirium.
  • Hallucination may be present
  • Seizures or a state of coma may be present

The attacks in this condition may be reversible, but they may be of a severe nature and may cause permanent damage like loss of vision or function of limbs.

Treatment For Neuromyelitis Optica

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

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)

Causes Of Neuromyelitis Optica

The exact cause of NMO is not yet known.

There is no family history as such.

However, it is seen that most of the people who suffer from NMO or other family members also have some other autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, etc. in conditions like these, your own immune system mistakenly targets and destroys your healthy cells.

Prevention Of Future Attacks

  • Corticosteroids may be given in low dosage for a longer period of time, so that NMO attacks and relapses may be prevented.
  • Immunosuppressants or medicines that suppress the immune system may also be recommended so that the immune system is suppressed and does not attack your own healthy cells. These medicines may be given along with corticosteroids and can help in preventing future attacks of this condition.
  • Immunosuppressants may include medicines like azathioprine, mycophenolate mofetil, rituximab, etc.

Conclusion

Neuromyelitis Optica does not have a progressive phase, unlike other similar conditions like multiple sclerosis. The key to a good prognosis is the prevention of attacks in the first place. Alternative treatments like yoga and meditation may be supportive to other conventional methods of treatment.

References:  

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria MD

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

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Last Modified On: August 1, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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