Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is one of humankind’s most mysterious diseases. No one knows the exact cause and there is no exact treatment. Still multiple sclerosis has the ability to affect nearly 3 million people worldwide and at least 500,000 people in the United States (Boroch). This disease tends to be more common in individuals of northern European descent and women are more than twice as likely to develop multiple sclerosis as men. Of those 3 million people, most of them are between the ages of 20 and 50 years old (Dangond). Even though multiple sclerosis is a mystery disease, scientists are working to determine the exact cause and treatment.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that involves the different areas of the central nervous system, CNS- the brain and spinal cord (Dangond). Within the central nervous system there are cells that are covered with a protective myelin. In people with MS, the myelin sheaths around the cells begin to deteriorate and the nerve fibers, also known as axons, which are normally protected by the myelin, end up being destroyed (Boroch). After a while scar tissue is replaced where the myelin breaks down, hence the name multiple sclerosis or many scars (Boroch).When the nerve fibers are destroyed they begin to lose their ability to conduct signals and communicate with the other neighboring nerve cells. Without this ability, the nerve cells that make up the central nervous system cannot communicate with the rest of the body (Blackstone). The loss or slow down of these signals impairs such functions like vision, strength, and coordination. Scientists don’t clearly know what causes the damage to the nerve cells, but they believe that it might be caused by confusion in an individual’s immune system. When we have a virus or infection our immune system would start up and fight to eliminate the threat, but in this case the immune system turns on itself and attacks the healthy nerve cells (Blackstone). Multiple sclerosis is a very strange disease without a well known cause.
One important thing to know about multiple sclerosis is that there are many different types. There are four, vaguely defined, types of MS: Relapsing- remitting, Primary-progressive, Secondary-progressive, and Progressive- relapsing (Dangond). Relapsing-remitting MS, most common, is when patients experience a series of attacks followed by the disappearance of symptoms. So, in this type, multiple sclerosis attacks and then goes in to remission until another attack occurs. Its alternates back and forth. Primary-progressive MS is when there is a continuous decline in a person’s physical abilities. Secondary-progressive is when relapses are rare but the patient accumulates more disability (Dangond). Lastly, we have progressive-relapsing which is the more complex type. It is very similar to primary-progressive MS but it includes small periods where the symptoms and disease become worse (Blackstone).
With any disease come many...