Transverse Myelitis is a neurological disorder characterized by inflammation of the spinal cord. It leads to damaging and scarring of the myelin, which is the insulating material that protects nerve cell fibers. When these nerves are scarred, the transfer of messages between the spinal cord and other parts of the body becomes disrupted. While there is no cure for transverse myelitis, early diagnosis from a Dulles neurology specialist can help manage the symptoms.
Essential Facts About Transverse Myelitis
Transverse Myelitis can cause pain, muscle weakness, bladder and bowel dysfunction, or worse, paralysis. It affects people of any age, gender, and race. Statistics show that the number of transverse myelitis cases increases every year. This means that you or anyone you know can be affected by the disorder. Knowing the following facts can help you stay prepared:
- It is caused by infections in the immune system.
Transverse myelitis is commonly caused by a bacterial, fungal, or viral infection in the body’s immune system. It can also be triggered by other myelin-affecting diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, which is another neurological disorder caused by damaged nerves and spinal cord.
- It manifests through pain, weakness, or numbness of the various parts of the body, particularly the limbs.
The symptoms of transverse Myelitis include pain in the lower back, legs, arms, and abdomen, feeling of numbness and tingling in some parts of the body, sensitivity to touch, weakness of arms and legs, bowel and bladder problems, fever, and loss of appetite.
According to Dulles neurology experts, the affected areas of the body depends on which portion of the spinal cord was damaged.
These signs can develop within a few hours or days or may manifest gradually for several weeks.
- This disorder can be diagnosed through several methods.
Transverse myelitis can be diagnosed through magnetic resonance imaging or MRI, blood tests, and lumbar puncture or spinal tap.
Your neurologist in Leesburg uses MRIs to detect lesions in the spinal cord. Meanwhile, blood tests are done to rule out potential infection. The lumbar puncture, on the other hand, tests the cerebrospinal fluid for the amount of white blood cells. Abnormally high amounts may indicate inflammation, and in turn, transverse myelitis.
- Transverse myelitis can be monophasic or chronic.
In some cases, transverse myelitis is monophasic, which means they only occur once. For such cases, medicines are prescribed to address the infections of the immune system.
On the other hand, transverse myelitis can also be chronic. For these patients, physical and occupational therapy are combined with medication to counteract the effects of the disorder.
- There is still no cure for transverse myelitis.
To date, there is no known cure for transverse myelitis. Therefore, treatment focuses on managing the symptoms. For instance, doctors may prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers to ease the pain and tingling sensations. Intravenous steroids may be used to reduce the inflammation of the spinal cord. For more severe cases, intravenous immunoglobulin is used to reset the immune system, removing the autoantibodies from the circulation.
Schedule a Consultation with a Dulles Neurologist
If you observe any of the above symptoms in you or your loved ones, schedule a consultation with a neurologist in Leesburg, VA as soon as you can. Timely diagnosis increases the chances of success for treatment, therefore ensuring the patient’s quality of life even after a transverse myelitis diagnosis.