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Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis

​While it is indeed life-altering, a diagnosis of pediatric multiple sclerosis (MS) doesn't mean your child can't do normal, everyday activities.

Children who are diagnosed with MS can often lead a normal life. Many children with MS participate in sports, for example. In fact, pediatric multiple sclerosis patients are encouraged by doctors to stay active and live an overall healthy lifestyle.

While many children continue with most of their normal activities, they can be interrupted by the onset of symptoms that require care, depending on the severity. They may also be given medication to help alleviate or control their episodes.

What is Multiple Sclerosis

With multiple sclerosis, it is thought that a person's immune system attacks their central nervous system. Genetic factors appear to contribute to the risk of MS. However, parents should dismiss the idea that they somehow could have prevented their child's MS. 

Researchers believe some environmental exposures play a part in triggering the genetic expression of MS. Environmental exposures might include tobacco smoke, an Epstein-Barr virus infection, adolescent obesity or low levels of vitamin D.

Symptoms of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis

The following are symptoms of MS in children:

  • Pins and needles tingling, numbness and/or pain
  • Balance problems, difficulty walking
  • Tremors, weakness
  • General fatigue
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression
  • Blurry or double vision

Remember that symptoms vary from person to person, with most children having some but not all. MS is more common in girls than boys and about 5% of all MS patients are diagnosed before age 18.

The important thing is to get your child to your Boys Town Pediatrician if you suspect something is wrong. Catching multiple sclerosis early is key to treating MS. A child with multiple sclerosis can have a positive outlook, despite the disease, with proper initiation of treatment.

The Prognosis for a Child with MS

While pediatric multiple sclerosis can impact thinking and learning, baseline neurological testing can help ensure your child performs well through their school years.

If your child is diagnosed with MS, it is important to make sure they have healthy behaviors, such as:

  • Nutritious diet
  • Regular exercise
  • No smoking or vaping (for teens)
  • Keep up with preventive care
  • Manage any other medical conditions

Ultimately, you, your child's caregivers and the Boys Town team all need to work together to manage your child's multiple sclerosis so they can live as normal of a life as possible.​

Health;Illness Pediatric Neurology