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Nowadays there is considerable confusion between multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Most people think they are the same disease but in fact they are very different even though both are neurodegenerative diseases and have “sclerosis” in their name. As a result, we wanted to briefly explain the main differences between these diseases:
MS is an autoimmune disease that may be caused by a virus or unknown antigen. When this happens, the body’s immune system attacks myelin – a substance that wraps around nerve fibers and allows nerve impulses to be transmitted at a reasonable rate – resulting in poor electrical communication between neurons and causing numerous symptoms that we will describe below .
ALS, on the other hand, affects the nerve cells that control voluntary movements in both the brain and spinal cord, meaning that this disease only affects the motor system. The cause is also unknown.
The most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis are vision problems, balance problems, language problems, tremors or shaking hands, muscle weakness in the arms or legs, and loss of muscle strength. Other symptoms that commonly occur include cognitive impairment in memory, coding and retrieval of information, and emotional problems such as anxiety and depression.
On the other hand, as already mentioned, patients with ALS only suffer from motor symptoms. Voluntary muscle activity is impaired, there is weakness in the arms and legs, as well as speech and swallowing difficulties. It is necessary to emphasize the severity of this disease, since eventually patients may develop a dysfunction of the respiratory muscles. As a result, patients with ALS live 3 to 5 years after their diagnosis.
There is currently no cure for either condition, but treatments can help slow down both conditions and relieve their symptoms.
In both cases, treatment consists of drugs that slow the progression of the disease combined with sessions of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.
In addition, in multiple sclerosis, the neuropsychologist is of fundamental importance in treating cognitive deficits that develop as the disease progresses.
Approximately 85% of MS patients develop periodic relapses, followed by periods of remission (relapsing-remitting MS). Relapses affect all types of patients with symptoms that last 24 to 72 hours before going away. Often the symptoms go away completely, but this does not prevent these patients from getting worse as a result of each seizure. The other 15% of MS patients show slow and gradual deterioration from the start (primary progressive form).
In contrast, ALS always progresses at a constant rate, although the rate of deterioration can vary from patient to patient.
MS and ALS affect gender differently
Multiple sclerosis mainly affects women between the ages of 20 and 40 and, in its primary progressive form, mainly affects men between the ages of 50 and 60.
ALS usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 70 and is more common in men in a 3 to 1 ratio.
La entrada Multiple Sclerosis vs. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: How Are They Different? aparece primero en Blog NeuronUP.
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