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Multiple sclerosis 

Names

Multiple Sclerosis
MS

Description

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a central nervous system disease that occurs when the immune system attacks the myelin, which is a protective covering around the nerves. The nerves may then suffer permanent damage. The cause of the abnormal immune system action is unknown, but there seems to be some genetic link. The most common form of MS is relapsing-remitting which occurs when a patient has symptom-free periods, but the patient may develop a progressive form where the symptoms worsen over time. Women are affected twice as often as men. MS varies in severity, with some people losing the ability to walk.

Prevalence

US cases: ~400,000 

Sources: NIH, WebMD

Typical Age of onset

Can occur at any age, particularly between the ages of 15 and 60. In most patients, symptoms begin between the ages of 20 and 40.

Symptoms

Symptoms vary greatly from person to person, because different nerves can be affected.

  • Muscle weakness, typically only affecting one side of the body at a time
  • Pain or burning sensations
  • Coordination or balance issues, such as when walking
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Sensations that feel like electric shocks, triggered by some neck movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision loss, typically only affecting one eye at a time
  • Double vision for an extended period of time
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Bladder and bowel control issues
  • Tremor

Source: NIH, Mayo Clinic

References