Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO)
A rare medical condition dealing with the immune system damaging the spinal cord and optic nerves is Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), also known as Devic’s disease.
A person of any age can get affected, but it’s more likely common in women than men.
Each person will undergo different symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
These symptoms may include:
- Eye pain
- Loss of vision
- Colors appearing faded or less explicit
- Weakness and pain in the legs and arms
- Grown sensitivity to cold and heat
- Tight and painful muscle spasms
- Bladder, bowel, and sexual problems
- The spinal cord and optic nerves become swollen and irritated
Neuromyelitis Optica is an autoimmune condition; the immune system in the body responds abnormally, striking healthy tissues and causing the symptoms.
The condition is usually not inherited, but some people with a history of autoimmune disorders or another autoimmune disease can experience NMO.
When to seek medical aid
When to get medical help
Concern a doctor if you have any of the above symptoms.
The doctor may refer you to a neurologist for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
You’ll have a blood test and MRI scan of your brain and spinal cord. You get a lumbar puncture, where a fluid sample surrounding your spine is removed using a thin needle and tested.
Treatments for NMO
There’s no cure for NMO still now, but there are specific treatments that can help to ease symptoms, prevent future relapses, and diverts the condition’s progression.
- Steroids to downsize the inflammation
- Medications to subdue your immune system and ease your symptoms, such as azathioprine, mycophenolate, or methotrexate
- Rituximab, a unique type of medicine to reduce inflammation
Rehabilitation techniques, such as physiotherapy, can also help improve if you have problems with your mobility.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022