Introduction to Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

Each nerve fibre in the brain and spinal cord is surrounded by a layer of protein called myelin, which protects the nerve and helps electrical signals from the brain travel to the rest of the body. In MS, something triggers the immune system to attack and damage the myelin. This damage disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms that vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected.

That's why MS causes unpredictable symptoms such as weakness, tingling, numbness, mood changes, memory problems, pain, fatigue, blindness, or paralysis.

Most people who have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) have a type called relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) characterized by clearly defined attacks of worsening neurologic function. These attacks — often called relapses, flare-ups or exacerbations — are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions), during which symptoms improve partially or completely, and there is no apparent progression of disease.

Others experience gradual and and ongoing loss of function without distinct attacks which is known as progressive MS.

There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis. Treatments attempt to reduce attacks and slow down the damage for those with relapsing MS, but there is no therapy yet that can slow down or stop progressive MS.

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