Demyelinating disorders

Demyelinating disorders are the disorders where the myelin sheath is damaged. Myelin sheath is an insulating layer present on the nerve cells, and is made up of fatty substances and proteins. The function of the myelin sheath is to provide smooth transmission of nerve impulses throughout the immune system. Several disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, damage the myelin sheath. Once the myelin sheath is damaged, a scar forms in that area, and the nerve impulses cannot transmit through these scars.

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  • Multiple Sclerosis: It is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the spinal cord and brain. There are several types of multiple sclerosis. These include relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, primary progressive multiple sclerosis, clinically isolated syndrome, and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are fatigue, alteration in gait, weakness in muscles, muscle spasms, loss of coordination or balance, and numbness or tingling sensation, particularly in the arms or legs.
  • Neuromyelitis Optica (NMOSD): Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is a demyelinating condition that affects the spinal cord and the optic nerves. The body's immune system attacks the healthy cells of the optic nerve and spinal cord in an autoimmune condition. The symptoms of neuromyelitis optica are pain in the eyes, loss of vision, paralysis or weakness of legs and arms, numbness and tingling sensation, loss of bowel and bladder control, and nausea and vomiting.
  • HTLV-I Associated Myelopathy: It is a slowly progressive condition that affects the central nervous system. Patients with this condition have swelling in the brain and spinal cord. This condition is caused by the HTL-1 virus. Approximately 1% of patients affected by this virus develop HTLV-1-associated myelopathy. The virus spreads when a healthy person comes in contact with the blood or fluid of an infected person.
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease: It is a genetic condition that affects the peripheral nerves. The onset of the disease may occur at any age. However, there may be a progressive weakness of muscles during adolescence or early adulthood. Patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth diseases experience balance problems, spinal curvature, frequent falling, reduced sense of position and vibration, hip displacement, nerve pain, and muscle cramping.
  • Balo’s Disease: It is a type of multiple sclerosis and may lead to paralysis and difficulty in communication. The disease causes lesions in the spinal cord and brain of the patients. The symptoms of Balo's disease are weakness of muscles, paralysis, speaking difficulty, altered behavior, and a problem in thinking.