What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is believed to be an autoimmune disease which primarily causes central nervous system problems. In MS, the insulating fatty material surrounding the nerve fibers, also known as myelin, which functions to speed signaling from one end of the nerve cell to another is attacked by cells of the immune system causing problems in signal transduction.
Onset may occur at any age, but predominates in ages 20 to 40 years. An appearance of MS in childhood or after age 60 is relatively rare. Women are more often affected than men with an estimated ratio of 2 to 1. If you have MS you are not alone. In the UK 100,000 are affected by MS.
Key facts about MS:
- More than 100,000 people in the UK have multiple sclerosis (MS)
- More women than men are diagnosed with MS
- It is usually diagnosed when people are in their 20s and 30s
- MS is a disease affecting the central nervous system
- MS is not a fatal condition
- There may be periods of relapse of varying length and severity
- Symptoms can come and go and can vary greatly in terms of severity
- At present, there is no cure for MS but this certainly doesn’t mean that the symptoms of MS cannot be treated
There are four recognised patterns of MS, each with its own characteristics.