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Child Neurology Consultants of Austin

Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica

MS and NMO are autoimmune diseases where the body's immune system reacts against itself and attacks its own healthy cells and tissue. Specifically, the immune system attacks the central nervous system’s myelin, the protective coating around nerve cells. Attacks on myelin create areas of inflammation throughout the central nervous system which slow or interrupt the flow of information that move via the nerve cells causing MS symptoms.

There are several different types of multiple sclerosis (MS):

  • Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS): Most children with MS are diagnosed with this type. It’s also the most common form of MS. People with RRMS will have attacks (relapses) of symptoms that go away and come back later. 
  • Primary progressive MS (PPMS): People with this type of MS have chronic symptoms that steadily get worse over time.
  • Secondary progressive MS (SPMS): With this type of MS, symptoms steadily get worse. Most people who have RRMS eventually develop SPMS.

While MS is more often diagnosed in adults between the ages of 20 and 40, children can also develop the autoimmune disease. NMO presents more commonly in childhood.

Overview of Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optica

Symptoms

The cause of these conditions is still a mystery. Researchers believe several factors may play a role including genetics, issues with the immune system and environmental factors.

MS and NMO symptoms are different in each person and unpredictable. Some may experience a couple symptoms others may experience many. Therefore, treatments is often customized to each patient. Common symptoms include:

  • Bladder Problems
  • Depression
  • Dizziness 
  • Emotional Changes
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness or Tingling
  • Spasticity
  • Vision Problems
  • Walking Difficulties
  • Weakness

Diagnosis

To determine if your child has MS, our staff will review your medical history as well as specific details about symptoms experienced. Additional testing is commonly required and often includes:
  • MRI
  • Lumbar Puncture to evaluate Cerebrospinal Fluid

Treatment

There is no cure for MS and NMO. Treatment is focused on controlling the immune system and helping manage the symptoms. Because symptoms vary for each patient, following a thorough medical evaluation, a CNCA provider will develop an individualized care plan to meet the patient’s specific needs.

Resources

For a complete evaluation of your child’s multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica health, look no further than Child Neurology Consultants of Austin. We are the only pediatric neurology group in Central Texas, with locations in Far West and Cedar Park. Our team of board-certified, fellowship-trained child neurologists and nurse practitioners are standing by ready to help.

Call (512) 494-4000 for an appointment or submit an online appointment request form to get started.