Chicago Neurological Services
Dr. Lenny Cohen
Neurology located in Roscoe Village, Chicago, IL & Oak Park, Oak Park, IL
Nearly 1 million Americans live with multiple sclerosis (MS). If you’re among this number, effective treatment and symptom management can change your life. Top-ranked neurologist Lenny Cohen, MD, and his team at Chicago Neurological Services in Chicago and Oak Park, Illinois, are experts in caring for patients suffering from MS. To learn more, schedule an appointment online or by phone today.
Multiple Sclerosis Q &A
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a degenerative disease of the brain and spinal cord. In MS, the body’s immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths that coat nerves. Damage to the myelin leads to disruption of communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Over time, the disease leads to permanent nerve damage.
What are the symptoms of MS?
Disruption of nervous system communication often results in problems with movement and motion. Symptoms and their severity vary widely between people and also over the course of the disease, depending on which nerve fibers are affected.
In some cases, the disease consistently and progressively gets more severe over time, potentially leading to an inability to walk independently. Others may experience a periodic flare-up of symptoms that then lessen in severity for an extended period of remission without new symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
- Electric-feeling sensation down your back when bending your neck (Lhermitte’s sign)
- Numbness or weakness in your trunk or one or more limbs
- Tingling or pain in any part of your body
- Lack of coordination and balance
- Slurred speech
- Vision problems, like blurry, double, or lost vision
- Cognitive and emotional problems
- Sexual, bowel, or bladder function problems
While there is no cure for MS, treatments can manage symptoms, accelerate recovery from flare-ups, and even alter the disease’s course.
What causes MS?
Scientists and physicians don’t know the cause of MS. It’s believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors, but it’s not clear why it develops in some people but not others.
While the cause is unknown, there are a number of well-documented factors that increase your risk of developing MS, including:
- Gender: Women are nearly three times more likely than men to develop MS
- Heredity: Immediate relatives of those with MS
- Infection: Infection by viruses like those causing mononucleosis or Epstein-Barr
- Smoking: History of tobacco smoking
The disease onset can occur at any age but usually affects people between ages 16-55. It’s also more common among those of northern European descent or who live in temperate climates like the northern United States, Canada, and Europe.
How is MS diagnosed?
There is no specific test to diagnose MS. Instead, diagnosis is performed by careful examination and the ruling out of other diseases. Dr. Cohen may also suggest MRI, blood tests, lumbar punctures, or nerve tests to better understand your condition.
How is MS treated?
Since there is no cure for MS, treatments are designed to manage symptoms, respond to flare-ups, and modify disease progression. Dr. Cohen may prescribe physical therapy, muscle relaxants, anti-fatigue drugs, or other medications to help manage your symptoms
Dr. Cohen can use corticosteroids, oral or intravenous, to reduce nervous system inflammation. He may also conduct plasma exchange where your blood plasma is filtered out and replaced by a protein solution.
There are at least 12 FDA-approved therapies for relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS). AT Chicago, Neurological Services, Dr. Cohen uses the on-site IV therapy clinic to offer infusions of TysabriⓇ, OcrevusⓇ, and LemtradaⓇ, among other therapeutic agents.
If you or a loved one suffer from multiple sclerosis, schedule a consultation with Dr. Cohen by calling Chicago Neurological Services or using the online booking feature.