Categories: Neurology

Demyelinating diseases of the Nervous system

What is demyelination?

Nerves send and get messages from all parts of your body and process them in your brain. They permit you to talk, see, feel, and think. Many nerves are covered in myelin. Myelin is a protecting material. At the point when it’s eroded or damaged, nerves can break down, messing up the brain and all through the body. Damage to myelin around nerves is called demyelination.

Nerves are comprised of neurons. Neurons are made out of cell bodies, dendrites, and an axon. The main job of an axon is to send messages from one neuron to another and to connect neurons to other cells, like, muscle cells. A few axons are extremely short, while others are 3 feet in length. Axons are covered in myelin. Myelin secures the axons and helps convey axon messages as fast as possible.

Myelin is made of membrane layers that cover an axon. Myelin permits a nerve signal to travel quicker. In unmyelinated neurons, a signal can go along the nerves at around 1 meter per second. In a myelinated neuron, the signal can travel 100 meters per second.

Certain ailments can harm myelin. Demyelination hinders messages sent along axons and makes the axon to deteriorate. Depending upon the location of damage, axon loss can cause issues with feeling, moving, seeing, hearing, and thinking clearly.

Types of Demyelinating diseases:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis (ADEM)
  • Balo’s Disease (Concentric Sclerosis)
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT)
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS)
  • HTLV-I Associated Myelopathy (HAM)
  • Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic’s Disease)
  • Schilder’s disease
  • Transverse Myelitis

Causes of Demyelination:

The most common cause of demyelination is inflammation. Other causes include:

  • Certain viral infections
  • Metabolic problems
  • Loss of oxygen
  • Physical compression

Symptoms of Demyelination:

Demyelination keeps nerves from having the option to direct messages to and from the brain. The impacts of demyelination can happen quickly. In Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), Myelin may be under attack for a couple of hours before symptoms appear.

Not every person is influenced by demyelinating conditions in the same way. In any case, some demyelinating symptoms are very common. Early symptoms which are among the first sign of demyelination include:

  • Loss of vision
  • Bladder or bowel problems
  • Abnormal nerve pain
  • Overall fatigue

Symptoms related to the impact of demyelination on nerves varies from other symptoms. As nerves are a key part of your body functions, a wide range of symptoms can occur when nerves are affected by demyelination, which includes –

  • Numbness
  • Loss of reflexes and unco-ordinated movements
  • Poorly controlled blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Racing heartbeat or palpitations
  • Memory problems
  • Pain
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Fatigue

The symptoms can come, go, and progress over the years in chronic conditions, like Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Demyelination MRI:

Demyelinating conditions, particularly MS and optic neuritis, or inflammation of the optic nerve, are detectable with MRI scans. MRIs can show demyelination plaques in the brain and nerves, particularly those brought about by MS.

Your doctor might be able to find plaques or lesions influencing your nervous system. Treatment would then be able to be coordinated explicitly at the source of demyelination in your body.

Treatment for Demyelination:

No cures exist for demyelinating diseases and their movement and symptoms are diverse for everybody. Getting treatment early is very significant. Treatment focuses around:

  • Limiting the impacts of the attacks
  • Changing the course of the disease
  • Managing the symptoms

A variety of medications is prescribed relying upon your disorder. Techniques to treat symptoms include physical therapy, muscle relaxers, and meds to reduce pain and weakness.

Dr. Vivek Jacob, Consultant – Neurology, Mazumdar Shaw Medical Center, Bommasandra, Bangalore

Narayana Health

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