what is ms
What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system in which the body’s immune system attacks myelin, a fatty material that covers nerve fibers. Myelin protects nerves from overstimulation and sends electrical signals properly from one part of the brain to another. The loss or degradation of myelin can cause a wide variety of neurological symptoms and disorders. For most people with MS, debilitating symptoms begin gradually (over time), without warning. These include numbness and tingling in the arms or legs, weakness or clumsiness in the hands or feet, difficulty speaking, vision problems such as blurred vision or seeing double (diplopia), and other problems affecting balance, coordination, walking stability, thinking speed, and more serious movement disorders called spasticity or ataxia. With each passing year these symptoms get worse until total disability occurs.
Multiple sclerosis is diagnosed on the basis of a person’s signs and symptoms plus medical tests that typically show damage to nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord by inflammation caused by immune attack.
Treatment for MS includes medication to reduce inflammation; physical therapy; regular exercise programs; regular follow-up with neurologists; lifestyle modifications such as avoiding stressful situations like work pressure or emotional stressors; behavioral treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (talk therapy) to control anxiety and depression; coping skills training; rehabilitation services including assistive devices to help maintain mobility after illness onset; self-help peer support groups specifically adapted for people with MS; family education about illness management so they know how to help manage their disabled loved one at home independently;; research into new treatments for MS that may prevent relapses when they occur
MS is a disorder of the central nervous system.
The central nervous system (CNS) is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. The CNS controls your thoughts and impressions of the world. It also controls how you react to these thoughts and perceptions. It regulates much of your body’s activity, such as breathing, digestion, body temperature, urination and defecation.
The CNS is made up of two main parts:
- the brain;
- the spinal cord.
These are protected by bony structures such as your skull and spine.
MS symptoms depend on the type of disease and which nerves are involved.
The symptoms of MS vary tremendously, depending on which nerves are affected. The type of disease and the distribution of nerve damage also influence how symptoms appear and progress.
Some people have transient attacks of neurological problems—often a single episode that goes away within days or weeks. Others have progressive symptoms that gradually become more serious. This more common pattern produces steady deterioration in function over time.
MS is not fatal, but complications may arise from severe progressive disability
Multiple sclerosis is not a fatal disease. However, it is important to note that complications can arise from severe progressive disability. These may include:
- Pressure sores due to immobility which can lead to septicaemia (blood poisoning) with serious and possibly life-threatening consequences.
- Severe liver dysfunction due to immobility and loss of bladder control leading to infection in the bladder and kidneys. This may have life-threatening consequences if left untreated.
- Infections caused by pneumonia or other respiratory infections, which may be difficult for someone with MS to cough up or breathe out of their lungs as effectively as others, because of reduced mobility and muscle weakness. This can result in a build up of secretions in the lungs (also known as an accumulation of sputum). If this is left untreated, these secretions may collect in the airways, causing blockages that can lead to problems breathing (pneumonia), resulting in death if left untreated.
MS can be mild, with some people remaining ambulatory throughout their lives, while others may have progressive deficits that lead to impaired mobility or speech after many years.
MS is a disease associated with unpredictable symptoms. While some individuals experience mild symptoms and remain ambulatory throughout their entire lives, others may have progressive deficits that lead to impaired mobility or speech after many years.
symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.
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Treatment for multiple sclerosis aims to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability.
When someone has MS, the best treatment is to prevent another attack and to make sure that they do not get disabled. Having MS is like a car accident: if you hit the brakes hard enough, you can avoid becoming disabled but you will still have problems.
MS treatments aim to prevent a new attack as well as reduce disability after an attack by getting your immune system working again, either by increasing its ability against attacks or increasing its ability to repair damage from attacks.
ms can be severe or mild
MS is a neurological condition that can range from mild to severe. In MS, the immune system (which normally protects your body from infection) attacks the covering of nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord. It can cause a range of symptoms including numbness, tingling, problems with vision and balance, weakness and fatigue.
MS may get better by itself after each episode or relapse. However, most people have long periods when they are free of any symptoms of MS between relapses. The number of relapses you have, how long they last for and how quickly they improve varies widely between different people. Some people will have one or two episodes lasting weeks or months over their lifetime while others may have many attacks causing only minor symptoms that recover completely but never fully go away (known as clinically isolated syndrome). In some cases MS will remain stable for decades while in others it might progress more rapidly over a period of years.
The treatment aims to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks from happening and prevent disability from occurring. Your treatment will be tailored to your individual needs based on how severe your disease is; how active it is; whether you are experiencing relapses; how likely it is that you will develop significant disability due to MS; what your goals are for managing the disease; and whether you would like to become pregnant at any point in the future.