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Multiple sclerosis affects more patients in summer

Multiple sclerosis patients are facing a tough time with the temperature soaring. Multiple sclerosis affects the nervous system.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2011 00:50 IST
HT Correspondent

Multiple sclerosis patients are facing a tough time with the temperature soaring. Multiple sclerosis affects the nervous system.

“Viral infection increases substantially whenever the weather changes. Cases of auto-immune disorders such as multiple sclerosis also rise,” said Dr Sumit Singh, neurologist with Medanta Medicity.

Multiple sclerosis involves the loss of myelin (a layer of the nerve) and affects the brain and spinal cord.

“Its symptoms, such as loss of sensation, become severe in hot weather,” said Pravin Gupta, neurologist with Artemis Hospital.

Although multiple sclerosis is incurable, its effects can be reduced to prevent instances of acute attacks. Medications should be taken regularly.

“Acute attacks include loss of sensation, difficulty in walking and loss of vision in one eye or both. Steroids are given to recover from attacks,” said Dr Gupta. “Then interferons (a type of protein) are prescribed to prevent such attacks,” added Dr Gupta.

According to doctors, multiple sclerosis patients can live longer and healthier if they undergo early diagnosis and treatment, instead of waiting until the disease has progressed.

The disease is becoming prevalent among females. Dr Singh said at least eight out of 10 patients who visit him are women. “Many young women who visit us complain of minor numbness. They often ask whether it is due to multiple sclerosis,” said Dr Singh.

The occurrence of acute attacks can be reduced by 60% after diagnosis. Currently, good awareness of the disease is leading to early diagnosis among patients.