Northwest Neurology’s commitment to serving Multiple Sclerosis patients is unrivaled. As the leading Multiple Sclerosis Center in Chicago’s surrounding suburbs, the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Northwest Neurology is recognized by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as well as The Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers. While all of Northwest Neurology’s physicians care for MS patients, the Northwest Neurology MS Center focuses resources, expertise and personnel exclusively to MS.
The program is directed by Dr. George Katsamakis, and the Northwest Neurology MS Center is one of the largest of its kind, caring for approximately 2,000 Multiple Sclerosis patients. Dr. Katsamakis, who comes to the group from Rush University has focused his training and clinical practice on MS, and is internationally recognized for his expertise in diagnosing and treating multiple sclerosis and related disorders.
All of Northwest Neurology’s physicians and nurses are committed to making the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Northwest Neurology a patient-centered, comprehensive center of excellence. The staff’s priority is to be compassionate and provide individualized care.
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a chronic disorder that attacks the central nervous system (CNS). The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves make up the CNS and are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of MS, sometimes leading to weakness, visual loss, gait imbalance or other disability. While some of the symptoms may be mild, such as numbness in the limbs, the condition may also be more significant with paralysis or loss of vision in some patients.
The progression, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another. Today, the diagnosis of MS is typically made by clinical history, examination, and MRI. Lumbar puncture is sometimes needed as well, and blood tests are often done to exclude other diagnoses.
This type of MS causes clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks are also called relapses, flare-ups, or exacerbations. Generally, these attacks are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which no clinical disease progression occurs. However, there may be worsening that can be detected with MRI during these times of remission. Approximately 85% of people are initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.
In this MS subtype, the course is characterized by slowly worsening neurologic function from the beginning—with no distinct relapses or remissions. The rate of progression may vary over time, with occasional plateaus and temporary minor improvements. Approximately 10% of people are diagnosed with primary-progressive MS.
Following an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, many people develop a secondary-progressive disease course in which the disease worsens more steadily, with or without occasional flare-ups. Before the disease-modifying medications became available, many MS patients initially diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS went onto developing this MS subtype. It is not yet known how many MS patients have had this MS stage delayed or prevented by undergoing treatment, but it is believed that MS treatment has made a significant impact.
In this relatively rare MS subtype (5%), people experience steadily worsening disease from the beginning with clear attacks of worsening neurologic function along the way. They may or may not experience some recovery following these relapses, and the disease continues to progress without remissions.
**This information has been adapted from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. For more information, please also see www.nationalmssociety.org
Do you have questions about the services offered at our MS Center? Call (847) 882-6604 to learn more about The Multiple Sclerosis Center at Northwest Neurology!