Multiple Sclerosis is a mysterious disease. Scientist have yet to discover its cause or a way to counteract the disease’s progressive nature. It also does not receive the same level of attention or government backed funding because it only affects a small percentage of the population. However, it is a very difficult medical condition. People who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis suffer from degenerative nerves damage. This can affect the nerves of your eyes, spinal cord and brain.
This disease, actually refers to the number of sclerosis areas that are a result of the demyelination of your nerves. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. Sometimes the nerve fiber itself is damaged or broken affects young adults, usually between the ages of twenty and forty years old.The disease tends to affect more women then men. The ratio is almost 2 to 1 when comparing the number of women to men that develop Multiple Sclerosis. When diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, there are periods of flare- ups and periods of remission.
There are several phases of MS.
- Relapsing-RemittingCharacteristics: People with this type of MS experience clearly defined flare-ups (also called relapses, attacks, or exacerbations). These are episodes of acute worsening of neurologic function. They are followed by partial or complete recovery periods (remissions) free of disease progression.
Frequency: Most common form of MS at time of initial diagnosis. Approximately 85%.
- Primary-ProgressiveCharacteristics: People with this type of MS experience a slow but nearly continuous worsening of their disease from the onset, with no distinct relapses or remissions. However, there are variations in rates of progression over time, occasional plateaus, and temporary minor improvements.
Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 10%.
- Secondary-ProgressiveCharacteristics: People with this type of MS experience an initial period of relapsing-remitting MS, followed by a steadily worsening disease course with or without occasional flare-ups, minor recoveries (remissions), or plateaus.
Frequency: 50% of people with relapsing-remitting MS developed this form of the disease within 10 years of their initial diagnosis, before introduction of the “disease-modifying” drugs. Long-term data are not yet available to demonstrate if this is significantly delayed by treatment.
- Progressive-RelapsingCharacteristics: People with this type of MS experience a steadily worsening disease from the onset but also have clear acute relapses (attacks or exacerbations), with or without recovery. In contrast to relapsing-remitting MS, the periods between relapses are characterized by continuing disease progression.
Frequency: Relatively rare. Approximately 5%.
While the causes of Multiple Sclerosis are still a mystery one of the explanations that Doctors believe may be a cause is a virus. Another theory is that an antigen, of unknown origin is the cause ofMultiple Sclerosis. What this antigen or virus does is to make your body attack its own tissues. Then, the auto immune system starts to fight against its own cells, causing inflammation and the distruction of the myelin patch and nerve fibres. Genetics is thought to be another probable cause for Multiple Sclerosis. If someone in your family has had Multiple Sclerosis, you are more at risk of developing it then the general population. Another cause for the development of MS is thought to be the environment. It appears that the first 16 years of your life are very important for the possible development of Multiple Sclerosis. If you live in a temperate climate, chances are greater that you will develop Multiple Sclerosis. On the other hand, if you have lived in a tropical climate, that lowers the risk of having Multiple Sclerosis.