Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the nervous system. MS occurs when the immune system attacks a material called myelin which protects nerves. Without myelin, the nerves can become damaged and lose their signal-sending ability. MS can cause muscle spasms, vision problems, problems with focus, bladder issues, and many other symptoms. The severity and variety of symptoms vary based on the person. For some, the disease can be debilitating, but for others, it can cause minor issues that are not very impactful on everyday life.
The first symptoms of MS usually appear between 20 and 40, and while it is not yet known exactly what causes MS, genetics can make a person more likely to get the disease. Other possible causes of MS are viral infections, smoking, and lack of vitamin D. Most people with MS have short bursts of symptoms called relapses which are followed by a slow recovery. Some do experience constant symptoms, but that is uncommon.
Diagnosing MS is very difficult as it displays many of the same symptoms as other diseases like Lyme disease and AIDS. Usually a blood test or an MRI are required to rule out other issues and confirm an MS diagnosis. MS is about as hard to treat as it is to diagnose and no cure currently exists.
There are few treatments available, but most of them are drugs that either slow the advancement of MS or help with nerve damage. Although these treatments don’t cure MS, they do help with the symptoms significantly.