Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, lifelong disease that affects the central nervous system — disrupting the flow of information between the brain and body. Impacting more than 2.3 million individuals worldwide, MS is often debilitating, usually striking people in the prime of their life.
Much is still unknown about the disease, including its cause. It is a condition that affects men and women, though more women than men are affected. While it is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, multiple sclerosis can be seen at any age. Researchers believe that age, environment, gender and genetics can play a role. The average person in the U.S. has about one in 750 (.1%) chance of developing MS, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
The UofL Physicians specialists at UofL Health - UofL Hospital - Multiple Sclerosis Clinic is experts in diagnosing and treating this challenging disease. Patients can find reassurance knowing our providers are among the most qualified in their field and are dedicated to providing all possible options for treatment. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Partners in MS Care program has designated UofL as a partner in MS care, neurologic care, for our commitment to MS care and a continuing partnership with the society to address the challenges of people affected by MS. Our clinic is the only partner in MS Care in Louisville and western Kentucky.
We understand multiple sclerosis impacts a person’s quality of life, and we work together with our patients to create a comprehensive plan of care. No two individuals with MS are exactly alike, so medical care is individualized with the patient involved in the decision-making.
At UofL Health - UofL Hospital, we offer a multidisciplinary Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in Louisville with a core group of experts that can address all of a patient’s needs. Patients have the services they need in one place, without the inconvenience of multiple appointments and referrals. This includes not only medical care but physical/occupational/speech therapies, neuropsychology and social work. Through our role as an academic medical center, patients also have access to clinical trials and research.
Conditions We Treat
Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system — the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms are unpredictable and can vary from person to person, depending on the area of the nervous system that is affected. The central nervous system is insulated by myelin. In individuals with MS, myelin does not protect the brain and spinal cord as it should, causing damage that can cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty walking
- Numbness or tingling
- Stiffness or muscle spasms
- Loss of coordination
- Vision issues
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Sexual problems
- Depression and other emotional changes
- Cognitive changes
- Memory loss
- Swallowing disorders
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased incidence of headaches
- Loss of hearing
The severity and progression of the disease vary from person to person.
Multiple sclerosis can be challenging to diagnose. There is not a single test that determines if a person has MS. We use a number of strategies to rule out other diseases. This includes going over a patient’s medical history, performing a physical and neurological exam, an MRI and other tests. There is no cure for MS. Treatments can include medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, symptom management and clinical trials. Since the disease and its progression vary, treatment for the disease is individualized as well.
We encourage an overall healthy lifestyle with appropriate physical activity, nutrition and sleep.
There are four forms of MS:
This is the most common course of the disease. It is defined as attacks that worsen neurological function. The attacks, called relapses, are followed by partial or complete remissions, meaning symptoms improve for a brief period or entirely.
This occurs as the second phase of MS for many who are diagnosed. It often follows relapsing-remitting MS. The disease may begin to progress more steadily and may or may not include relapses.
Characterized as steadily worsening of neurologic functioning without any relapses, primary-progressive MS is continuous. Individuals with primary-progressive MS tend to have more difficulties with everyday activities including walking.
This form of MS is progressive from the onset and is the least common, occurring in 5 percent of people with MS. Symptoms and rate of progression are different for each person.
Our providers are nationally and internationally renowned in the field of neurology and research. We understand the complexities of MS and the difficulties patients face.
As faculty members and staff with the University of Louisville School of Medicine, our physicians are also researchers and are well versed in the latest treatments, as well as clinical trials.
Because the UofL Health - UofL Hospital – Multiple Sclerosis Clinic is part of a wide network of providers at UofL Physicians, patients also have easy access to other specialists.
UofL Health - UofL Hospital - Multiple Sclerosis Clinic
UofL Health - Jackson Street Outpatient Center
550 S. Jackson St., 3rd Floor
Louisville, KY 40202
Please feel free to call 502-561-7400.