Because NMOSD is such a rare condition, you may find yourself searching through Google to learn more about it. Doing your own research is good, but what you read may not always be accurate. Here is your guide to what’s real and what’s not when it comes to living with NMOSD.
Fact: NMOSD is not MS
Although NMOSD and MS have several similarities, they also differ in significant ways. This includes specific symptoms, how the disease progresses, and what treatments work best.
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Fiction: NMOSD is a progressive condition
As mentioned above, NMOSD differs from MS in multiple ways. One of those ways is that, unlike MS, NMOSD symptoms do not typically “progress.” So what exactly is it like to live with NMOSD? You will experience isolated attacks of severe nervous system inflammation that can happen at any time. In order to help you combat the lack of predictability, doctors will treat you as if your attacks are recurrent.
Fact: Attacks can leave lasting damage
NMOSD attacks, which usually affect the optic nerve, spinal cord, or part of the brainstem, can cause severe assaults that can lead to vision loss or impairment (often in one eye), extreme weakness in the arms or legs, paralysis, loss of bladder control, and painful itching or spasms.
Myth: Vision loss is always temporary
The nerves connecting your eyes to your brain are one of the most common targets of NMOSD. If these nerves become inflamed (optic neuritis), it can cause painful loss of vision, blurry spots, and a decreased ability to distinguish colors in one or both eyes. Many people who experience this won’t make a full recovery to normal vision, especially without treatment.
Fact: Vomiting and hiccups are symptoms
NMOSD damages part of the brainstem (the back of the brain that continues down into the spinal cord) that controls these involuntary reflexes. Vomiting and hiccups typically occur in the first attack, or in the beginning stages of the disease.
Myth: The cause of NMOSD is a mystery
About 75% of people with NMOSD make an antibody against a protein called aquaporin-4 (AQP4), which helps transport