Overview of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by deterioration of the brain and the spinal cord. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath present as a covering on nerve fibers. This damage in the nerve fibers lead to problems and interruptions in communications between the brain and the rest of the body. Multiple sclerosis is not curable and individuals suffering from this disease mostly lose the ability to walk and move on their own. Treatment involves managing the symptoms and modifying the course of disease in order to improve the quality of life.
Causes and Risk Factors of Multiple Sclerosis
The exact trigger or cause of this autoimmune disorder is unknown. The immune system starts producing antibodies against the myelin sheath which is a protective layer of fatty substance present in the nerve fibers present in the spinal cord and brain. Once the protective coating is damaged the nerve fibers become exposed and cause delays and intervals in the messages that travel along their length. This lead to an overall disability and coordination among the body parts and with the environment is lost. There are various environmental and genetics factors that lead to onset of multiple sclerosis in an individual. Certain climatic conditions such as temperate climate is considered as a governing factor of this disease as people living in Canada, New Zealand and southeastern Australia are at high risk of suffering from MS. While, people living in Africa or Asia are at low risk of developing MS. Individual suffering from any other autoimmune disorder are at high risk of developing MS. Multiple sclerosis is more common in women as compared to men. Individual who have a family history of MS are more likely to develop the disease at certain stage of life.
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
The signs and symptoms of MS vary from person to person depending on the location of the affected nerves in the body. Some of the primary symptoms include fatigue, weakness or numbness in one or both limbs, tingling or pain in body parts, unsteady gait, tremors, double vision, pain in eyes, slurred speech, bladder and bowel problems and dizziness.