What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease, a non-contagious chronic autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system which can present with a variety of neurological symptoms occurring in attacks or slowly progressing over time. It has no cure yet and the exact cause remains unknown. Due to its effects of the nervous system, it can lead to long-term impaired mobility and disability in severe cases. Multiple sclerosis slowly progressive autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks the protective myelin sheaths that surround the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord
(a process called demyelination), resulting in damaged areas that are unable to transmit nerve impulses. The disease also gradually damages the nerves themselves. There are elevated numbers of lymphocytes in the cerebral spinal fluid and of T cells in the blood (see immunity).
Multiple sclerosis can be thought of as an inflammatory process involving different areas of the central nervous system (CNS) at various points in time. During an multiple sclerosis attack, inflammation occurs in areas of the white matter of the central nervous system (nerve fibers that are the site of multiple sclerosis lesions) in random patches called plaques. This process is followed by destruction of myelin, which insulates nerve cell fibers in the brain and spinal cord. Myelin facilitates the smooth, high-speed transmission of electrochemical messages between the brain, the spinal cord, and the rest of the body; when it is damaged, neurological transmission of messages may be slowed or blocked completely, leading to diminished or lost function.
Multiple sclerosis is a nerve disorder caused by destruction of the insulating layer surrounding neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This insulation, called myelin, helps electrical signals pass quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body. When the myelin is destroyed, nerve messages are sent more slowly and less efficiently. Patches of scar tissue, called plaques, form over the affected areas, further disrupting nerve communication. The symptoms of multiple sclerosis occur when the brain and spinal cord nerves no longer communicate properly with other parts of the body. multiple sclerosis causes a wide variety of symptoms and can affect vision, balance, strength, sensation, coordination, and bodily functions.
Multiple sclerosis affects more than a quarter of a million people in the United States. Most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40; symptoms rarely begin before 15 or after 60. Women are almost twice as likely to get multiple sclerosis as men, especially in their early years. People of northern European heritage are more likely to be affected than people of other racial backgrounds, and multiple sclerosis rates are higher in the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe than in other parts of the world. multiple sclerosis is very rare among Asians, North and South American Indians, and Eskimos.
The onset of multiple sclerosis is usually at age 20 to 40 years, and its many symptoms affect almost every system of the body. There may be visual difficulties, emotional disturbances, speech disorders, convulsions, paralysis or numbness of various regions of the body, bladder disturbances, and muscular weakness. The course of the disease varies greatly from person to person. In some patients, the symptoms remit and return, sometimes at frequent intervals and sometimes after several years. In others the disease progresses steadily. The disease is more common in women than men, and often appears between the ages of 20 and 45. It is more frequently seen in the temperate zones, such as northern Europe, than the subtropical and tropical areas of the World. In Europe and North America multiple sclerosis is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults, affecting 1 in 800 of the population.
Multiple sclerosis is not strictly a hereditary disease. However, multiple sclerosis is a disease influenced by a variety of factors, one of which is the genetic background of an individual. There is no single gene known to be responsible for multiple sclerosis, though a few genes have been demonstrated to increase the risk of development. Although these genes are of scientific interest and continue to play a part in research, they are not enough to diagnose an individual with multiple sclerosis.
More information on multiple sclerosis
What is multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by the hardening of patches of tissue in the brain and spinal cord.
What causes multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis is caused by an unknown agent that gradually destroys the myelin covering, or sheath, of nerve fibers, resulting in a temporary interruption.
Is multiple sclerosis inherited? - Multiple sclerosis is a typical complex trait and susceptibility is genetically determined. People with MS inherit certain regions on individual chromosomes more often than people without MS.
What's the typical course of multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis is recognized as occurring with seven different patterns. Multiple sclerosis starts with an acute flare-up of symptoms within hours to days.
Who is at the risk of multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis affects women almost twice as frequently as men. Climate, diet, geomagnetism, toxins, sunlight, genetic factors, and infectious diseases are risk factors for multiple sclerosis.
What types of multiple sclerosis are there? - Multiple sclerosis have different patterns including relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis.
What're the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis? - The first symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often visual changes. Later symptoms may include fatigue, muscle spasticity and stiffness, tremors, paralysis, pain.
How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed? - A definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis requires evidence for dissemination of lesions within the central nervous system both in space and in time.
What's the treatment for multiple sclerosis? - The treatment of multiple sclerosis aims at decreasing the rate and severity of relapse, reducing the number of lesions, delaying the progression of the disease.
What's prognosis of multiple sclerosis? - Most people with multiple sclerosis will be able to continue to walk and function at their work for many years after their diagnosis.
Dietary therapy for multiple sclerosis - The main role of diet in multiple sclerosis is to enable people to manage common problems which include fatigue, incontinence and constipation.
Nutritional supplements for multiple sclerosis - Nutritional therapy is used for alleviating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis or altering the natural course of the disease.
Does multiple sclerosis affect pregnancy? - Multiple sclerosis has no adverse effects on the course of pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Pregnancy doesn't affect the long term course of the disease.
Can vitamin D reduce multiple sclerosis risk? - Vitamin D supplements may positively influence the immune systems of patients with multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D has a beneficial influence on ongoing multiple sclerosis.