Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disorder characterised by the immune system mistakenly attacking the protective covering of nerve fibres in the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord.
It’s a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause disability, although it can occasionally be mild.
In many cases, it’s possible to treat symptoms. Average life expectancy is slightly reduced for people with MS.
It’s most commonly diagnosed in people in their 20s, 30s and 40s, although it can develop at any age. It’s about 2 to 3 times more common in women than men. MS is one of the most common causes of disability in younger adults.
MS is an autoimmune condition. This is when something goes wrong with the immune system, and it mistakenly attacks a healthy part of the body – in this case, the brain or spinal cord of the nervous system.
In MS, the immune system attacks the layer that surrounds and protects the nerves called the myelin sheath.
This damages and scars the sheath and potentially the underlying nerves, meaning that messages travelling along the nerves become slowed or disrupted.
What precisely causes the immune system to act this way is unclear, but most experts think a combination of genetic and environmental factors is involved.
Symptoms of MS vary widely between patients and depend on the location and severity of nerve fibre damage in the central nervous system.
Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or ambulate. Other individuals may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms depending on their MS type.
The main symptoms include:
- Fatigue. Physical activity may bring this on, but it may ease with rest. You may have constant tiredness that doesn’t go away.
- Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time
- Electric-shock sensations that occur with specific neck movements especially bending the neck forward (Lhermitte sign)
- Partial or complete loss of vision, usually in one eye at a time, often with pain during eye movement
- Unsteady gait or inability to walk
- Spasticity – The involuntary increased tone of muscles leading to stiffness and spasms.
Are you or a loved one living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)? Schedule a consultation with our consultant neurologists and get the best treatment by calling +23414488840 to get started.