Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition that causes nerve damage, resulting in disability over time. Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular condition that occurs when plaque progressively blocks arteries.
MS can cause numbness, pain, and several motor and neurological problems. There’s no cure for MS, but treatment options for slowing its progression are available.
Atherosclerosis occurs when plaque starts to build in the arteries after they’ve sustained damage. Atherosclerosis can occur in anyone. However, certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking and low physical activity, can increase the risk of developing it.
This article explains the difference between atherosclerosis and MS, their symptoms, their similarities and differences, and how doctors diagnose and treat them.
MS is an autoimmune neurological condition. In MS, the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective coating of nerves, called the myelin sheath. The immune system damages the nervous system, causing muscle weakness and other motor and neurological issues.
MS typically occurs in people
Atherosclerosis is a
Health conditions connected to atherosclerosis are the leading cause of death in the United States. About 50% of people ages 45–84 have this condition without knowing it, according to the
Atherosclerosis can occur in any artery of the body. It can cause severe and potentially life threatening complications, including stroke and heart attack.
Is there a link between the two?
However, having risk factors does not mean people will develop a condition.
The symptoms, causes, treatments, and diagnostic tests of these conditions are as follows:
|• blurry or double vision
• partial vision loss
• muscle weakness and tremors
• coordination problems
• loss of bladder or bowel control
• sexual dysfunction
• memory problems
|• nausea or diarrhea
• weight loss
• muscle aches and cramping
• chest pain or angina
• heart palpitation
• cold sweats
• extreme fatigue
• shortness of breath
|• medications, such as steroids
• disease-modifying therapies
|• ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers
• anti-clotting medications
• calcium channel blockers
• lifestyle strategies
• infectious factors
• environmental factors
|• damage and inflammation to the artery
• buildup of plaque
• lifestyle habits, such as smoking and low physical activity
|• neurological exams and tests
• lumbar puncture
• blood tests
• MRI scan
|• blood tests
• heart imaging tests
• heart CT scan
MS and atherosclerosis both cause the hardening of tissues in the body.
MS is a neurodegenerative condition that mainly affects the nerves and the central nervous system. It
However, MS is rarely life threatening. People with MS typically have the same life expectancy as people without MS.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that
Atherosclerosis can cause disability and reduce life expectancy.
People with MS may experience symptoms such as:
- pain, numbness, and tingling in the face, arms, legs, or trunk
- vision problems, such as blurred vision
- muscle weakness
- muscle stiffness
- involuntary muscle spasms
- trouble keeping balance when walking
- difficulties controlling the bladder
- mental and physical fatigue
- mood changes and difficulties managing emotions
- anxiety and depression
The symptoms of atherosclerosis
The cause of MS is
Possible causes include:
- infectious factors
- environmental factors
This can cause a buildup of plaque that can cause serious cardiovascular health complications over time.
Doctors use a combination of tests to diagnose MS,
- MRI scans: These imaging scans check the health of the brain and spinal cord.
- Evoked potential tests: This test can help doctors determine how the nervous system responds to external stimuli by sending painless electric signals using electrodes placed on the skin.
- Lumbar puncture: This exam collects a sample of spinal fluid to test it for the presence of proteins and inflammatory cells linked to MS.
To diagnose atherosclerosis, doctors typically perform a series of exams,
- blood tests to check cholesterol levels
- electrocardiogram to check the heart’s electrical activity
- heart imaging tests to inspect the general health conditions of the heart
- a stress test to check how the heart responds to physical stress and exercise
- a heart CT scan, called a coronary calcium scan, to evaluate the presence of calcifications or buildup of calcium in the arteries
- ankle-brachial index (ABI) tests to compare the blood pressures in the ankle and arm and diagnose peripheral artery disease
Disease-modifying therapies are one well-known treatment for MS. These medications can help reduce the frequency of MS relapses, suppress the activity of the immune system, and prevent further nerve damage.
It is not possible to reverse the damage that occurs from atherosclerosis. However, a combination of lifestyle strategies and medications
Medications for atherosclerosis may include:
- ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers to reduce blood pressure and the workload of the heart
- anti-clotting medications to reduce the risk of blood clots
- nitrates to prevent chest pain
- calcium channel blockers to lower blood pressure
- metformin to control plaque buildup in people with diabetes
- medications to control sugar levels in the blood
- statins to lower high cholesterol levels
The lifestyle strategies a person with atherosclerosis may consider onboarding may include:
MS is rarely life threatening. It
A person cannot reverse atherosclerosis. It can cause serious health complications. Atherosclerosis
MS is a neurological condition that affects the central nervous system, causing nerve damage and motor problems. People with MS can experience severe fatigue and difficulties performing daily activities. It can cause disability over time.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that involves the formation of plaque buildup in the arteries. Atherosclerosis can induce a partial or complete blockage of arteries. This can cause serious health complications, which can sometimes be life threatening, such as stroke and heart attack.