Most cases of Multiple Sclerosis involve steady disease progression that can be controlled with treatment and a near-normal lifespan. Sometimes, however, Multiple Sclerosis can progress rapidly and lead to significant disability levels within a short period of time. It can be disturbing to see one’s facilities decline so fast, which is why knowing what these subtypes of Multiple Sclerosis look like and getting a prompt check-up is critical. Here, we provide a brief introduction to Marburg Multiple Sclerosis.
Understanding Marburg Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the central nervous system. It is an autoimmune demyelinating disease, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues — in this case, the myelin or protective covering around nerve fibers. This leaves scarred tissues or lesions in multiple areas, disrupting electrical impulses throughout the body. When the myelin sheath is damaged, nerve impulses slow down or even stop, causing neurological problems.
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis is a type of malignant Multiple Sclerosis, in which disease progression is much faster than normal. These cases only affect about 5% of patients, but can have lethal outcomes. Marburg Multiple Sclerosis was defined by Austrian neurologist Otto Marburg in 1906 and is an acute fulminating demyelination process that causes severe disability within months or even weeks. In most cases, Marburg Multiple Sclerosis shortens the lifespan considerably. Those who survive longer will usually demonstrate the relapsing-remitting form of Multiple Sclerosis.
Symptoms of Marburg Multiple Sclerosis
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis occurs mostly in young adults. For the most part, Marburg Multiple Sclerosis involves the same MS symptoms as usual, only presenting much faster and more severely. This is because the demyelination occurs much more aggressively and causes marked tissue destruction and even necrosis. Patients may report a spike in symptoms like:
- Weakness in the extremities
- Vision problems
- Balance and coordination problems
- Slurred speech
- Bladder / bowel problems
- Sexual dysfunction
- Cognitive decline
As the brainstem becomes affected or there is mass effect with herniation, patients may experience severe relapses with symptoms like:
- Confused state
- Unsteady gait
Diagnosing Marburg Multiple Sclerosis
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis can only manifest in patients who already have an MS diagnosis. There is no specific test for it, and doctors will typically conduct tests to eliminate other possibilities. Some of the tests a patient can expect include a neurological exam, a spinal tap, an MRI, and a CT scan. These help to detect demyelination, lesions in the central nervous system, or white matter abnormalities. Marburg Multiple Sclerosis may sometimes appear as a brain tumor on scans, which is why doctors may conduct more tests and take longer to give a definitive diagnosis.
Treatment for Marburg Multiple Sclerosis
Earlier, the aggressive disease progression meant that most patients succumbed within one or two years of disease onset. Modern medication, however, can help some patients reach stability in around three years.
As part of their treatment, patients may need to intensify the Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy that they were anyway undergoing for Multiple Sclerosis. Doctors may also recommend mobility aids like walkers and wheelchairs to get around safely. In addition, autologous Stem Cell Therapy has shown considerable promise in reducing symptoms and increasing the time between MS relapses.
Marburg Multiple Sclerosis can be a tough diagnosis to receive, but modern treatment methods can assure patients of a much longer lifespan than before. Getting an early diagnosis is critical and can make or break the patient’s prognosis. It is vital that loved ones support the patient as much as possible through this journey and engage them in meaningful activities that make for a functioning, enjoyable lifestyle.