6 Multiple Sclerosis Related Conditions
According to the National MS Society, other demyelinating diseases of the central nervous system are related to multiple sclerosis. Here are six of them:
ADEM is another autoimmune disease characterized by a sudden inflammation of the spinal cord and brain. ADEM also attacks the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS), damaging myelin insulation. ADEM usually occurs following a viral infection, and very rarely following certain vaccinations.
Balo’s disease is a variant of MS which usually occurs in adulthood. The condition is characterized by rings of intact myelin alternating with bands where myelin has been lost in the brain and brain stem. Symptoms will vary depending on which areas of the brain have been affected. The disease is more prevalent in Asia, and in particular, the Philippines.
People infected with the HTLV-1 virus are at risk of developing HAM. The disease attacks the spinal cord resulting in weakness and stiffening of the legs. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 million people are affected worldwide, with the prevalence being higher in countries closer to the equator.
Also called Devic’s disease, NMO attacks the optic nerves and the spinal cord. It is a relapse-remitting disease which can cause loss of sensation in the limbs, problems with bowel and bladder function, and paralysis. Women are much more likely to get NMO than men (80% of patients are women). There are approximately 250,000 people in the world who have been diagnosed with NMO.
Usually starting in childhood, this very rare disease is also known as diffuse cerebral sclerosis. It is considered an MS variant and causes areas of demyelination in the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms of Schilder’s disease includes dementia, seizures, sight and speech issues, lack of balance, weakened muscles, headaches, mood changes, and vomiting.
Transverse myelitis is a neurological disease that attacks the spinal cord and damages myelin. Usually patients will only suffer one attack, but it is often one of the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis or NMO. Approximately 1,400 cases of transverse myelitis are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.
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