Only around 5 percent of the population of MS patients includes children. MS in kids tends to show in those younger than 16 years old, but many doctors feel there are children who go undiagnosed for years. Multiple Sclerosis in kids manifests differently than in adults and often starts as ADEM (acute disseminated encephalomyelitis), which is generally recovered from in 1 to 6 months. This disease is considered to be one of the many borderline MS diseases, due to the similarity between it and MS.

Both ADEM and MS include the demyelination of nerve cells. However, more than half of the children who recover from ADEM have some type of mild disability present. It is by far less severe than MS and it isn’t as progressive as Multiple Sclerosis either. Kids under the age of 12 who are diagnosed with MS tend to be male. A change in this number occurs once puberty is reached. It is at the point of puberty that MS is seen more in girls than boys.

The majority of the patients with MS are between the ages of 20 and 40 and usually twice as many women are diagnosed with MS each year than men. Seeing as most of the MS studies performed were on adults, the list of signs and symptoms collected are more common in adults than kids.

Children may experience tremors, the inability to control the bowels or bladder, muscle spasms, weakness, difficulty walking, tingling, numbness, or changes in vision. Two typical symptoms kids experience are lethargy and seizures, which aren’t characteristic in adults with MS.


Treating Kids with Multiple Sclerosis


Treatment for children with MS takes a route similar to methods used for adults and three main categories exist; relief of symptoms, prevention of attacks, and treatment of attacks. The initial medications provided are usually corticosteroids. These are best for treating attacks and do so by reducing inflammation where the immune system has attacked nerve cells.

The first corticosteroid administered is methylprednisolone via IV and followed by an oral dose of prednisone once the round of IV has commenced. Methylprednisolone is provided once a day for 3 to 5 days and prednisone is prescribed for a short amount of time afterwards. Once the attack is over, then it becomes necessary to prevent further attacks through the use of interferon beta-1a, interferon beta-1b, and glatiramer acetate.

Treating the symptoms of MS in kids involves medications, as well as counseling, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Sometimes combinations of all of these are necessary. A fever can exacerbate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis in kids, but generally this change is only temporary.


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