Facts About Multiple Sclerosis
- Multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS): the brain, the spinal cord, and nerve fibers to the eyes.
- The progress and severity of MS are unpredictable.
No two people have the same disease experience or symptoms.
- MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease. The body’s own defense system, the immune system, attacks myelin, the fatty substance that surrounds and protects the nerve fibers in the CNS, to form scar tissue (sclerosis). This scar tissue disturbs the nerve pathways from the brain to the spinal cord, resulting in a variety of MS symptoms.
- Symptoms of MS depend on where the damage to the myelin has occurred. Some of the most common symptoms can include: fatigue, walking and balance problems, bowel and bladder dysfunction, pain, cognitive dysfunction, emotional changes, spasticity, depression, and sexual dysfunction.
- While most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, MS can appear in young children and teens as well as much older adults.
- Most people with MS typically have a normal life expectancy.
- MS affects over approximately 400,000 Americans. World-wide, MS affects nearly 2.1 million people.
If you would like further information about MS, please visit the National MS Society website.
*All information retrieved from http://www.nationalmssociety.org