Conditions InDepth: Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, disabling disease of the central nervous system. The disease causes inflammation, destruction, and scarring of the nerve sheath (called myelin) that covers nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. There can also be damage to the underlying nerve itself (called the axon). As a result, electrical signals are slowed or blocked.

Nerve cells (neurons) showing normal and damaged myelin sheaths
nucleus image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
There are several types of MS:
  • Relapsing-remitting MS—Symptoms suddenly reappear every few months or years, last for a few weeks or months, and then go back into remission. Symptoms sometimes worsen with each occurrence.
  • Primary progressive MS—Symptoms gradually worsen after they first appear. Relapses and remissions usually do not occur.
  • Secondary progressive MS—After years of relapses and remissions, symptoms suddenly begin to progressively worsen.
  • Progressive relapsing MS—Symptoms gradually worsen after they first appear. One or more relapses may also occur.
Multiple Sclerosis
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
A malfunction of the body's immune system seems to be the cause of MS, but exactly why that occurs is not known. Researchers are still working to understand autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system, which normally protects the body from infection and other disease, starts attacking the body. The following conditions may contribute to MS:
  • Viral or other infection
  • Genetic factors (heredity)
  • Environmental factors
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 400,000 people in the US have multiple sclerosis.What are the risk factors for multiple sclerosis?What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?What are the treatments for multiple sclerosis?Are there screening tests for multiple sclerosis?How can I reduce my risk of multiple sclerosis?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with multiple sclerosis?Where can I get more information about multiple sclerosis?

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Many medical groups felt that early exposure to certain foods like peanuts increased a child's risk of developing food allergies. However, newer research including this trial suggest that early exposure may actually decrease the risk of developing food allergies.

dot separator
previous editions

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

Research Review Finds Little Support for Nearly Half of Medical Talk Show Recommendations
January 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook