What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis is a neurological illness that affects approximately 1 out of 500 people in the United States. About 2 to 3 million people worldwide are living with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, often referred to as MS.
Who gets MS?
MS is a lifelong illness that first appears between the ages of 20 and 45. About 70% of people diagnosed with MS are women, and about 30% are men. Usually, MS affects people who are otherwise healthy. There is a moderately increased risk of developing MS among people who have family members with MS, but the majority of people diagnosed with MS do not have family members with MS or any predictable risk factors. There are no lifestyle habits such as obesity, smoking, drugs or alcohol that are associated with causing MS.
What are MS symptoms?
MS is a disease that interferes with normal functioning of the brain, the spinal cord, or the nerves of the eye (optic nerves).
The brain is the body’s control center for thinking, for giving commands to move muscles, and for integration of sensations of touch, vision, taste, tasting, smell, and hearing.
The spine is a relay station that sends messages from the brain to the body and from the body to the brain.
The optic nerves are nerves connected to the eye that send visual signals to the brain.
MS can affect just a few spots in the brain, spinal cord or optic nerves, or it can affect many spots. Because the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves control so many physical functions, MS can cause a variety of symptoms. These symptoms can include any combination of the following:
Next: Causes of MS