What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms.

The exact cause of MS is unknown, but we do know that something triggers the immune system to attack the brain and spinal cord. These attacks result in damage to myelin (the protective layer insulating wire-like nerve fibers) which disrupts signals to and from the brain. This interruption of communication signals causes unpredictable symptoms which vary from person to person. Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments can help you to manage the condition and its symptoms.

 

A bit more scientific

What happens in MS?

As mentioned above, it's all about a substance called myelin which protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system, which helps messages travel quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body.

In MS, your immune system, which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it. This attack then damages the myelin leaving scars known as lesions.

This damage therefore disrupts messages travelling along nerve fibres – they can slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all... and that's what causes MS symptoms to occur.

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