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Dealing With Multiple Sclerosis

Posted by on Monday, December 22, 2008, 10:47
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Dealing With Multiple Sclerosis

Why early Multiple Sclerosis treatment is so important
MS has an invisible and a visible component. The invisible, or silent, aspect of MS can cause swelling in the brain and the spinal cord (inflammation), damage to nerves (axonal transection), and brain tissue loss (atrophy). Brain changes caused by MS can be seen on an MRI scan (a special test that allows doctors to get a picture of the brain).

These invisible effects may often lead to more visible physical disability (loss of sensory and/or motor skills), relapses (flare-ups that can affect a person’s vision, walking, or speech), and cognitive dysfunction (difficulty with problem solving, recent memory retention, and processing information).

Even though a person may feel fine and may not be experiencing a flare-up, MS may still be progressing. Fortunately, research has also shown that treating MS early can help slow its progression. Although current treatments cannot cure MS, some help maintain an individuals current level of functioning, so that they may continue doing the things that are important to them.MS experts are now recommending that people should start treatment with a disease-modifying medication as soon as possible after they have been diagnosed with MS.

Early treatment is very important because irreversible damage to the brain and nerves can occur even in the early stages of MS, and because people can develop brain lesions (damaged areas in the brain) and brain atrophy (decrease in brain size) even when they are not showing any symptoms of MS.

Disease-modifying medication options for early treatment include:

Avonex® and Avonex® PS (interferon beta-1a)
Betaseron® (interferon beta-1b)
Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate)
Rebif® (interferon beta-1a)
Tysabri® (natalizumab)

Avonex® , Avonex® PS, and Betaseron® can also be used for people who have had a single MS attack (also called a demyelinating event) plus abnormal MRI scan results to delay the onset of clinically definite MS decrease the number and volume of active brain lesions and overall disease burden as shown on an MRI scan.If you have been diagnosed with MS and are not currently receiving treatment with a disease-modifying medication, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. With the right treatment, you can take control of MS.

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