Multiple Sclerosis News

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system, affecting the spinal cord, the brain and the optic nerves. MS can vary greatly in severity from person to person and can cause a wide range of symptoms, from mild problems to severe disabilities.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms typically begin between the ages of 20 and 50.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

Relatively little is known about the cause of the multiple sclerosis. One theory is that genetics makes someone more susceptible to getting MS, but that it's some combination of environmental factors or triggers that often causes the disease to surface. With MS, the immune system attacks the central nervous system, but researchers are mixed on whether it is specifically an autoimmune disorder. Rather, it is often called an immune-mediated disorder. In multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks the myelin, which is a protective covering of nerve fibers in the central nervous system. This disrupts communication with the brain and leads to the symptoms of MS.

Types of MS

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary so widely that the disease is often classified as one of four different “courses”:

  • Relapsing-remitting MS, in which symptoms come and go in flare-ups
  • Primary-progressive MS, in which symptoms are continual and gradually worsen
  • Secondary-progressive MS, in which the disease becomes progressive after a period of being relapsing-remitting MS
  • Progressive-relapsing MS, which is progressive but also includes flares of much worse MS symptoms

Any one of these courses can include the symptoms of MS, such as problems with coordination, balance and walking; fatigue; numbness; vision issues; dizziness; issues with bowel, bladder and sexual function; emotional changes and mental issues; depression; and chronic pain. As MS worsens, it may also include issues with speech, breathing, swallowing and other problems.

Treatment

There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis, but people can often manage the disease through a combination of medications that help with symptoms and various types of therapy, including physical, occupational and speech. Working closely with doctors is the best course of action for finding the right approach for anyone with MS.

SOURCES: National Multiple Sclerosis Society

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MS patients may have a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

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Fatty Fish and MS Risk

Eating fish at least once a week may reduce your risk of MS, new study finds.

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