The Epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis:
An in-depth Study
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This paper examines eight journalistic articles depicting research and case studies analyzing the epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This in-depth analysis will explain the history and prevalence of the disease, and its impact on our society, along with a critical exploration of primary, secondary and tertiary interventions for MS along with its problematic relations with regard to the Healthy People 2010 objectives.
The Epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis: An in-depth Study
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system which continues to be on the increase throughout the world. A horrible and unpredictable disorder that can vary in presence from benign to partial disability to completely catastrophic as transmission between the brain and other areas of the body becomes interrupted and confused. With the onset of MS, the body’s own auto-immune system attacks the protective layer of myelin surrounding the spinal cord. Over time, lesions and scar tissue form replacing the myelin layer and thus disrupting the neurological network of nerves that go between the brain and the spinal cord (Lucchinetti et al, 2002). Over the past 100 years, approximately 300 studies have been conducted on subjects diagnosed with this debilitating disease ranging from prevalence, risk factors, degree of severity, and possible preventions (Kurtske, 2006). This paper will focus on the problems associated with MS beginning with a medical analysis, studying prevalence and incidence, intervention and the diseases’ importance and effect within the health community. Multiple Sclerosis Research Description and Diagnosis
Multiple sclerosis is an often times disabling disease which attacks the body's central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms may range from being quite mild with little impact on the physical well-being of the patient to a slight numbness felt in the limbs. Or can be very severe, devastating paralysis and can include a complete loss of sight. The progressive nature, degree of severity, and even the specific symptoms of MS are impossible to predict as they vary from person to person (Williams et al., 1995). With MS, the human body’s own defense system attacks the myelin, a fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers located throughout the central nervous system. In fact, the nerve fibers themselves can also be damaged by this constant attack. The damaged myelin forms scar tissue, called sclerosis, hence the disease's name. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber becomes damaged and/or destroyed, the nerve impulses which travel to and from the brain and the spinal cord are disrupted or obstructed, producing the various occurrences of symptoms (Williams et al., 1995). People with MS typically experience one of the four courses of the disease, each one of which might be mild, moderate, or severe. Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS): persons with this particular type of MS experience sharply defined attacks of worsening neurologic function (Zorton et al., 2003). These attacks, which can be called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations, are usually followed by partial or complete recovery periods called remissions, during which disease progression discontinues. Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with this course of MS (Zorton et al., 2003). Primary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS): is a course of the disease characterized by the slowly worsening neurologic function from the very beginning having no real or distinct relapses or remissions (Zorton et al., 2003). The rate of the disease's progression may vary over time having an occasional plateau and even...
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