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What is demyelination: symptoms, causes and treatments

girl with migraine

A serious pathology that must be kept under control: let’s find out more about demyelination and how to recognize it.

Demyelination is a process that affects the myelin sheaths of the fibers of the human nervous system. It is a very serious health problem: when it occurs it can lead to various more or less serious diseases, recognizable through very specific symptoms. So let’s find out what it is exactly, how to recognize it in time , the causes and how to proceed with the treatments.

Demyelinating disease: what it is

To better understand what a demyelinating disease is it is important to know that the nerves of our body are protected by a coating called myelin. It is a protective sheath that allows the correct functioning of the same. When myelin becomes damaged (demyelination), the nerves no longer function as they should and this can lead to problems both in the brain and throughout the body.

girl with migraine
girl with migraine

Demyelination can be inflammatory or viral. In the first case it is activated by an inflammation in progress and for which the immune system attacks the myelin, with consequent disease. The second, however, can occur due to some viral infections .

Among the best known demyelinating syndromes there are multiple sclerosis , ALS , Guillain-Barre syndrome, optic neutritis and lucoencephalopathy.

Demyelination: the most common symptoms

Among the most common symptoms of demyelinating syndrome are:

– Sense of numbness
– Blurred vision
– Dizziness
– Memory problems
– Exhaustion
– Problems in bowel and bladder control
– Uncoordinated movements
– Lack of reflexes
– Palpitations

Generally, for a precise diagnosis, a neurological examination with possible magnetic resonance imaging is required. Then there are genetic and sensory tests followed by more specific tests that are usually prescribed if a specific disease is suspected.

How to cure and causes of demyelination

As for the treatments, however, to date there are no really effective ones. However, there are drugs, such as corticosteroids, which can delay the onset of symptoms and make them less severe. This can often be combined with physiotherapy and other medicines capable of avoiding further attacks on the myelin sheaths.

In addition, there are also studies regarding vitamin D and its possible contribution in reducing the immune system’s response to inflammation.

Finally, as regards the causes of demyelination in the head, they are: inflammation , some metabolic problems, vitamin B12 deficiency , stroke , the intake of particular drugs, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of oxygen, compression physical and, with regard to multiple sclerosis specifically, some viral infections .

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