What is MS?
Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that affects your nervous system where the myelin, the coating that protects your nerves is damaged. This causes a range of symptoms that can affect daily life.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) affects around 130,000 people in the UK and each year nearly 7,000 more people are diagnosed with this neurological condition. This condition affects the brain and spinal cord.
In MS, the myelin, which is the coating that protects the nerves is damaged and causes symptoms such as blurred vision, the ability to move, think and feel. The myelin around the nerves is like, the covering around an electric cable. When the covering gets damaged, signals from different parts of the body to the brain get disrupted.
The central nervous system helps messages travel quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body, and a substance called myelin protects these nerve fibres. In MS, the immune system which normally helps fight off infections mistakes the myelin as a foreign body and attacks it as if it was an infection. This damages the myelin either slightly or completely and causes what is known as scars or lesions.
Due to the damage caused, the messages that travel along the nerve fibres to your brain, may slow down, become distorted or not get through at all. Sometimes, damage may be caused to the actual nerve fibres as well as the myelin. This nerve damage can cause disability to occur over time.
MS causes a wide range of symptoms and everyone’s symptoms are different. A symptom that one person might the first experience, might not be experienced by anyone else. Symptoms of MS can be related to vision, numbness and tingling, cognitive issues, fatigue, balance and many others.
No one knows for sure why people get MS, but it may be related to environmental issues, other factors and there has also been much research into vitamin D deficiency. Most people don’t have MS but if you are worried about any symptoms you may have, then you should speak to your GP.