What Age Do Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Start?

What Age Do Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Start?

Multiple sclerosis is a most disabling condition which can affect in any age group. But most commonly people in their third decade of life are affected. It is seen in clinical practice that it is very rare that teenager or a young adult is found suffering from multiple sclerosis. Most cases are reported in the age group above 20 years of age. (1)

The age factor is an important consideration while dealing with the disease. Many diseases are age specific and hence timely diagnosis and treatment provide effective results.

There is a term called pediatric multiple sclerosis in which children are affected. It is quite difficult to diagnose multiple sclerosis in infancy. To label a child with this disease, multiple investigations should be done as it is quite distressing and difficult for parents to accept this fact. Therefore, proper diagnosis should be made prior to informing the child’s parents. When diagnosed with multiple sclerosis treatment should be immediately started. Counseling plays a very important role in case of pediatric multiple sclerosis.

What Should Be Parents Counseled For?

This might seems very irrelevant but in clinical practice, there is nothing more important than this. A pediatrician should be patient enough to explain every detail to the parents and answer their queries. Obviously, it is not easy for them but proper counseling can help a lot.

Counsel all the information about the disease. Make them aware of the fact that this disease requires lifelong management and there is no permanent cure for this disease till date.

Apart from this medication details should be given to the patient. The patient should be insisted to start and continue the treatment without stoppage. Make them aware of the fact that the moment these drugs are withdrawn child condition may start deteriorating. So sticking to the prescribed treatment is necessary.

Apart from this while prescribing treatment doctor must consider few facts which include the economic condition of the patient. This helps in planning further treatment. Effective and cheap medication should be prescribed, because there are times when a patient stops taking medication as he or she is deprived of funds. This fact should be followed in every case where lifelong treatment is required. Affordability is a big issue which is usually neglected by the health care provider. Prescribe cheap and effective medicines.

Now the most important thing for which parent should be counseled is about the use of corticosteroids. Parents should be made aware of this fact that there might be stunting of growth as this is a major side effect of corticosteroids in children. In many cases, the child might develop diabetes usually known as juvenile diabetes as steroids cause insulin resistance. So they should be counseled for annual blood sugar and calcium level detection.

Few parents might get worried about stunting of growth and in such patient growth hormone supplementation should be considered. Though this is an expensive therapy, not all can afford it. Therefore, considering the patient affordability growth hormone should be prescribed. The doctor should understand the worry on the part of the parent and guide accordingly.

Since there are very few cases of pediatric multiple sclerosis, but still there is a lot of research going on this field as a child acquiring this disease is both a problem for parent and society.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of an adult. As there is no permanent treatment a person having the disease may die in the fifth decade or there are chances that he or she may survive and die later in his life.

Patient of multiple sclerosis gets mostly dependent on his family in later stages of life. They even become immunocompromized in later stages due to prolonged consumption of steroids.

So disease can be of adult onset or a childhood disease but whatever the cause of the disease the main treatment is prednisolone only. Patient of multiple sclerosis is advised physical activity to decreases the chance of relapse. Exercise and lifestyle modification plays an important role in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

References-

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5450788/

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