Neuro Week: Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple Sclerosis, commonly referred to as MS, affects an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue in the central nervous system, made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.

The cause of MS is still unknown, although it appears to be tied to a mixture of genetics and environmental factors. In most cases, MS presents itself between the ages of 20 and 40, and women are more likely to develop MS than men. Signs and symptoms can vary, but may include: numbness or weakness in one or more limbs, partial or complete loss of vision, prolonged double vision, tingling or pain in parts of your body, unsteady gait or tremor, slurred speech, fatigue and dizziness.

To diagnosis MS, your physician will take an MRI of your brain and spinal cord to look for signs of the disease.

There is no cure for MS, but there are many medications available that manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.  Research is constantly being done to create new and better medications, and some new medications are now available for patients with MS. If you have any concerns, talk to your primary care physician about the symptoms you are experiencing, and discuss what medication may be right for you. The earlier you catch MS, the earlier treatment can begin to give you relief and slow the progression as much as possible. Our area is fortunate as the MS Center at Guilford Neurologic Associates and Cone Health have a network of physicians and neurologists dedicated to educating the community about MS and providing exceptional care.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Richard Sater is a neurologist and the medical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Guilford Neurological Associates and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group.

Dr. Sater received a Bachelor of Science in physics from the University of Florida in 1984 graduated from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1991. He completed his residency in neurology and his fellowship in neuroimmunology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1995 and 1998, respectively. Dr. Sater specializes in multiple sclerosis and sleep medicine.

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