December 7, 2016

What You Need To Know About Multiple Sclerosis

Orange Multiple Sclerosis ribbon painted on face

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease in the central nervous system of the human body. The disease causes an inflammation in the protective covering of the nerves, called myelin, and often causes permanent damage to this covering. The myelin sheath is what transmits nerve impulses through nerve fibers. If damaged, the ability for nerves to signal to each other may be compromised and cause irreversible disability.

Although researchers have spent many decades researching this condition, they have not been able to discover a concrete cause for this disease. As of now, there is still research that is being done in order to determine the lifestyle, environmental, genetic and biological factors that contribute to this complication. Studies have shown that MS is more common in women (3 times more likely) and of people with a northern European background. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15-40.

Furthermore, this disease can be classified into different types divided by patient experience. For instance, relapsing remitting MS, is the type of MS where patients face the inflammation in episodes of varied length (usually from a few days to a few months) followed by periods of recovery, where many symptoms return. This is the most common form of MS, affecting 85% of patients. Progressive MS is when the symptoms continually increase in magnitude and result in permanent loss of functions.

There is no proven cure for MS. However, there are many forms of treatment that are being researched and deliberated each day. Research is concentrated on the viability of potential therapies, improving imaging technology to understand the brain better, and learning more about cause and risk factors.

Sources:

What is MS? Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Retrieved from: https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms

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