Since 2006, with the institution, by Law nº 11.303/2006, of the National Day of Awareness on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) on August 30th, this month started to be considered an important period for raising awareness about the disease and the deprivations of its bearers throughout the country, becoming known as Orange August. Today, MS is the neurological disease that most affects young adults in the world, mostly women. For this reason, Faculdade Florence seeks to give visibility to the disease, inform the population and alert to the importance of early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
“Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory, demyelinating and chronic disease that affects the central nervous system and is among the most frequent causes of non-traumatic neurological disability in young adults. Although the etiology is not yet fully confirmed, it is assumed that this disease has an autoimmune basis, with myelin basic protein being its primary target. It is believed to be caused by a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition (with some genes that regulate the immune system already identified) and environmental factors such as viral infections, vitamin D deficiency, smoking and obesity. from the Physiotherapy course at Faculdade Florence, Ailka Barros.
According to Prof. Ailka, one of the biggest challenges related to MS is recognizing its signs and symptoms. “They include severe fatigue, muscle weakness, uncharacteristic vertigo, altered balance, deficits in motor coordination, bowel and bladder dysfunction, visual disturbances, and sensory changes (limb numbness and/or decreased sensation). The progression of the condition can still trigger other later symptoms. Mood and cognitive changes may also be present.
An important tip is to see a doctor if you have any of these signs, for 24 hours or more, without an apparent cause. The parameter helps to identify when it really makes sense to suspect multiple sclerosis and look for a specialist”, he says.
diagnosis and treatment
The cause of the pathology is not yet known, but science works with hypotheses, such as the attack of certain viruses, immune reactions or both. Currently, there are more than 2.3 million people in the world with the disease. According to estimates by the Ministry of Health, at least 30,000 Brazilians live with MS. For unknown reasons, most of these people are women. As is common in autoimmune diseases, perhaps the hormonal profile is one of the explanations. The predominant age group among those who develop the disease is between 20 and 40 years.
“Existing therapies slow the progression of the disease and provide a better quality of life for patients for many years to come. Combined with early diagnosis and a multidisciplinary therapeutic approach, drugs can prevent disabilities and enable future planning so that the patient can live well with the disease. Currently, there are many drugs that prevent the appearance of lesions in the central nervous system, the occurrence of outbreaks, the accumulation of sequelae and the progression of neurological difficulties. Neurorehabilitation therapies are essential to mitigate the damage inherent to sequelae and improve the patient’s quality of life in general. They should include physiotherapy, psychology, neuropsychology, art therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, among others”, says Alika Barros.
Diagnosing MS early makes a difference. The earlier the treatment is started, the greater the chance of modifying the natural course of the disease in the long term, reducing the number of clinical outbreaks, injuries and neurological sequelae. There are no treatments that cure the disease, but there are resources, such as medication, physical therapy, among others that help people with the disease to remain productive and comfortable.
An alternative is to maintain the practice of physical exercises, as they help to strengthen bones, improve mood, control weight and help with fatigue symptoms. When movements are compromised, physical therapy helps to reformulate the motor act, emphasizing the contraction of muscles that are still preserved. This physiotherapy treatment associated with certain drugs also helps to re-educate the control of the sphincters (muscles that control the elimination of feces and urine). But it is worth remembering that, during acute attacks of the disease, it is advisable for the patient to remain at rest.
Since 2006, Brazil has celebrated the National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Day on August 30th. The date was the result of the effort of the Brazilian Multiple Sclerosis Association (ABEM) to give more visibility to the disease and its impacts on people’s lives. That’s why August Orange is considered the month to make Brazilians aware of this disease and the importance of preventing it.
In 2017, orange was adopted by individuals and organizations at most of the 600+ World Multiple Sclerosis Day events (promoted on May 30th) held in 96 countries worldwide.
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