The terms demyelination disorders and nerve demyelination are often used to describe the symptoms that occur from loss of myelin, a protective sheath around the nerves. The body’s immune system attacks the myelin and starts destroying it. This loss can cause a reduction or complete loss of electrical signals from the brain to the nerves in question, and in some cases the nerves wither away completely.


Effects and symptoms of Nerve Demyelination


The symptoms arising from nerve demyelination are loss of sensitivity, numbness in the limbs, muscle weakness, problems in speech, visual problems, difficulty in coordination and balance, bladder and bowel difficulties and cognitive difficulties of varying degrees. This may affect a patient psychologically, as normal everyday tasks become very difficult. They could also be overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness, because of the inability to have control over mental tasks. Some patients slip into a depression and may require counseling to help them accept this condition.


Treatment for Demyelination Disorders


Treatment for demyelination disorders includes improved nutrition, steroids, physical therapies, plasma exchange, immunotherapy, bone marrow transplants, protein antigens and medication. These could include antidepressants and anticonvulsants for spastic behavior.

The damage that has already occurred to nerves due to nerve demyelination cannot be reversed. The available treatment is aimed at preventing further demyelination and subsequent damage to nerves along with correction to the immune disorder. It primarily attempts to ensure that demyelination disorders do not worsen but it can also help strengthen the adaptive mechanism in the body. This can allow the patient to retain some level of control over the disease and the symptoms that is displayed.

Physical therapies focus mainly on reducing the stiffness of muscles and the amount of effort needed to perform an action, as well as maintaining muscle strength which in turn can help with basic motor functions and balance. The main treatment for demyelination disorders consists mostly of intravenous corticosteroids, adrenocorticotrophic hormone and its analogs. Plasma exchange, though successful in some patients, has not been able to provide any visual outcome in patients suffering from nerve demyelination. There are also many alternative therapies available. However, these do not have any medical backing.


Coping with Demyelination Disorders


Invariably, this will require the person to adapt a lifestyle change to factor in the limitations this condition brings about. Along with the medication and lifestyle change, a positive attitude plays a crucial role in helping the person lead a fulfilling life.