​​Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a mysterious and a long-lasting disease that severely affects the brain, spinal cord and the optic nerves of the eyes. In MS, your body's immune system attacks the myelin (insulating protective sheath covering the nerve cells) leaving them exposed and causing them damage. The damaged nerve cells are unable to transmit signals from the brain to the rest of the body efficiently.
The first sign on multiple sclerosis are different for children than adults. It usually begins with what we call acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Most of the time, the symptoms of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis go away after a few week. These include headache, confusion, coma, seizures, stiff neck, fever, and lack of energy. But if for some children the symptoms remain, this means they may have Multiple Sclerosis.​​

The symptoms in children are similar to those of adults. In multiple sclerosis you or your child will:

  • have problems with bladder or bowel control

  • feel weak

  • have problems with walking

  • have changes in vision

  • have muscle spasms

  • feel a constant tingling or numbness and sensory changes

  • have tremors

Inform paediatric neurologist  at the Children’s Hospital Service Line​ at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi if you see any of the above symptoms in your child. In case you notice these symptoms in an adult, you can consult specialists working with the Mind and Brain Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital. Your doctor will be able to guide you through the prognosis and suggest related treatment.​ 
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.​ 

MS is a challenging diagnosis in children—especially in prepubescent children—because of the atypical clinical, biological, and MRI presentations and the broader spectrum of potential differential diagnoses specific to that age range.

To diagnose multiple sclerosis, your doctor may ask for the following tests for you or your child.

  • neurological exam to check for impaired nerve function

  • eye exams, which are a series of tests to evaluate your or your child’s vision and check for eye diseases.

  • spinal tap (also called a lumbar puncture). This test involves a long needle that’s inserted into your spine to remove a sample of fluid circulating around your brain and spinal cord.​

There is no cure to multiple sclerosis. Once it has been diagnosed, the treatment revolves around managing the symptoms. Our paediatric neurologists may also prescribe something to alleviate the symptoms.

Usually medications which are to be consumed during attacks (flare-up of symptoms) are prescribed to children. It helps deflate the swelling around the brain and spinal cord. This has to be consumed from three to five days. This medication usually does not have any side effects, but many children are seen to get moody after consumption. It may also increases blood pressure, sugar level and may give the child an upset stomach.

Doctors can also treat specific symptoms related to MS, such as muscle spasms, fatigue, and depression.

Symptoms such as fatigue, numbness or tingling, muscle stiffness, and depression may not go away entirely after an attack. Hence, your doctor will suggest treatments to help relieve them, including physical and occupational therapy, counselling, and medications.

There’s not much you can do prevent the attacks from happening. However there are medicines which can potentially help reduce the number of attacks. Your child will get these medications by injection either into the muscle or beneath the skin. Our doctors or nurses can work with you on how to make them easier for your child. Teenagers may be able to give themselves these shots.​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​ 

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.