Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disease that affects the central nervous system in the human body. In MS, the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers (also known as the myelin) is attacked by the immune system. This causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body and can eventually cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
The signs and symptoms for MS differ from person to person and depending on the location of the affected nerve cells. Most often, symptoms affect movement in the body. For example, weakness or numbness in one or more limbs, electric-shock sensations that occur with movements of the neck and a lack of coordination or unsteadiness. Vision problems are also common symptoms for MS. These may include partial or complete loss of vision, prolonged double vision or blurry vision. In addition, those battling MS may experience slurred speech, fatigue, dizziness, tingling or paint in parts of the body and problem with sexual, bowel and bladder function.
Most of those who are battling MS have a relapsing-remitting disease course, in which they experience periods of new symptoms that develop over days or weeks but improve either partially or completely. Small increases in body temperature can temporarily worsen signs or symptoms of MS. At least 50% of those experiencing relapsing-remitting MS eventually steady progression of symptoms. On the other hand, some may experience worsening symptoms that often include problems with mobility or gait.
MS mainly affects the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, making it extremely life challenging for those who are battling the disease. Over 93,000 Canadians and 2.8 million people around the world are currently battling MS. As you can imagine, those with Multiple Sclerosis are affected tremendously each and every day of their lives.
“Multiple Sclerosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 June 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269.
For more information, visit the MS Society of Canada: an organization founded by volunteers and continually powered by the initiative and dedication of thousands of volunteers across the country.