What is MS?

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. It is thought to be an immune-mediated disorder, in which the immune system incorrectly attacks healthy tissue in the CNS.

MS can cause many symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue, problems with memory and concentration, paralysis, and blindness and more. These problems may come and go or persist and worsen over time. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, although individuals as young as 2 and as old as 75 have developed it.

What causes MS?

Because MS causes damage in the CNS, nearly any function can be adversely affected. However, the most common symptoms are overwhelming fatigue, visual disturbances, altered sensation and difficulties with mobility.

Symptoms of MS are unpredictable, and vary in type and severity from one person to another and in the same person over time. Symptoms may disappear or remit completely or they may persist and may worsen over time.

Who gets MS?

Anyone may develop MS but there are some patterns. More than two to three times as many women as men develop MS and this gender difference has been increasing over the past 50 years. Studies suggest that genetic risk factors increase the risk of developing MS, but there is no evidence that MS is directly inherited. Environmental factors, such as low Vitamin D and cigarette smoking have also been shown to increase the risk of MS. MS occurs in most ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, but is most common in Caucasians of northern European ancestry.

Types of MS

Four disease courses have been identified in multiple sclerosis: clinically isolated syndrome (CIS), relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and secondary progressive MS (SPMS).

Can MS be cured?

Not yet. There are now FDA-approved medications that have been shown to “modify” the course of MS by reducing the number of relapses and delaying progression of disability to some degree. In addition, many therapeutic and technological advances are helping people manage symptoms. Advances in treating and understanding MS are made every year, and progress in research to find a cure is very encouraging.

Related Conditions

MS affected people’s related conditions are mentioned below:

Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis(ADEM)
Balo’s Disease
HTLV-I Associated Myelopathy(HAM)
Neuromyelitis Optica(NMO)
Schilder’s Disease
Transverse Myelitis