What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological disorder among young adults. It causes problems with the central nervous system (CNS) and inflammation is thought to be a key factor in the pathophysiology of this debilitating degenerative condition. Although symptoms vary, people with MS may experience fatigue, blurred vision, numbness, loss of balance, difficulty walking and paralysis.
Who gets multiple sclerosis?
Patients are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50; they are rarely diagnosed under 12 or over 55 years of age. MS is two to three times more common in women than in men.
MS affects more than 2 million people worldwide with the highest rates in regions of the world with cooler climates or those regions farthest from the equator. Northern Europe, North America, and parts of Australia and New Zealand have the highest prevalence rates with the lowest rates in Sub-Saharan Africa.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
Symptoms vary from person to person and include weakness or fatigue; numbness or tingling; blurred vision, impaired color perception or visual loss; poor coordination of muscle movements; difficulty with bladder or bowel control; muscle stiffness (spasticity); speech problems and challenges with memory or other mental skills.
During episodes of inflammation and clinical relapse, messages from the brain become distorted, there can be a variety of symptoms from which the patient may fully or partially recover. Over time, successive events of demyelination lead to the more severe and persistent disability e.g. the need for walking aids.