T1D & Multiple Sclerosis

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Editor’s Note: This content has been verified by Marina Basina, MD, a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford University. She’s a clinical endocrinologist and researcher with a focus on diabetes management and diabetes technology. Dr. Basina is an active member of multiple medical advisory boards and community diabetes organizations, and she is on the Beyond Type 1 Science Advisory Council. 


What is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a relatively rare disease; the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation believes that around 400,000 people in the US and 2.5 million worldwide have MS. However, having Type 1 diabetes is a risk factor for having MS. If you have already been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, you are at a more than 3-fold increased risk of developing MS as compared to someone who does not have Type 1.

Like Type 1, MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath, the insulating cover of the nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord. Because of this attack, the nerve tissue is damaged and the signs and the symptoms of MS become present. Although the exact cause of MS is still unknown, genetics and environmental triggers may both play a role.

Signs and Symptoms of MS:

  • Difficulty walking
    • Weakness
    • Loss of balance
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Spasticity
  • Fatigue
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Vision problems
    • Blurry Vision
    • Pain in eye movement
    • Numbness
    • Tingling in face
  • Pain
  • Depression

Getting a Diagnosis

Although there is no single finding or test that can definitively tell you if you have MS, doctors use a combination of tests and symptoms to diagnose MS. For example, your doctor will likely perform a neurologic exam, an MRI, evoked potentials, and a spinal fluid analysis.  They will also want an extensive medical history report from you. These tests and reports will help them to find evidence of damage in at least two different areas of the central nervous system at different points in time and to rule out any other diagnoses.

Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS available currently. However, there are disease-modifying drugs that slow the progression of relapsing-remitting MS . These come in self-injectable, oral,  and intravenous infusion treatment forms. Since MS presents differently in different people, talk to your doctor about how to specifically treat your symptoms of MS.


Read about other autoimmune diseases.