Multiple sclerosis affects 350,000 people in the U.S. Though the condition can appear at any age, it is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20-50 years. MS appears twice as often in Caucasians, and females are affected earlier in life twice as frequently as males. Read more in our patient education guide.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease whereby the central nervous system components break down and degenerate. Scar tissue can form with resulting plaque in the spinal cord and brain. Myelin, a substance that covers the nerves and supports nerve health, is responsible for impulse conduction. In MS patients, myelin disintegrates through inflammation causing electrical impulses to slow down.
As the condition progresses with nerve damage, various normal functions can be compromised. These include:
Half of patients with MS experience:
Though the cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, it is highly suspected that a viral infection changes cells of the immune system so that the body, thinking that myelin is an invader, attacks and destroys it. This attack is known as autoimmunity.
There are several types of multiple sclerosis based upon the timing of symptoms.
|Type||Primary-Progressive MS||Relapsing-Remitting MS||Secondary-Progressive MS|
|Rate||Affects 10%-20% of individuals||Most common type (65%-80%)||Experienced by half of those with relapsing-remitting MS within ten years|
|Progression||There is a constant deterioration in physical abilities from the start of the initial attacks||
Cycle of attacks, remission and relapse. One experiences attacks, after which there is symptom decline or absence until another episode occurs.
A person can be in remission for many years.
|A continuous decline occurs in functions with intermittent attacks.|
Doctors by Specialist Type
Allergists and Immunologists | Anesthesiologists | Cardiologists | Critical Care Practitioners | Dentists | Dermatologists | Emergency Physicians | Endocrinologists | Gastroenterologists | Geriatric Doctors | Hematologists | Infectious Disease Doctors | Nephrologists | Neurologists | Oncologists | Ophthalmologists | Otolaryngologists | Pain Management Doctors | Pathologists | Physiatrists | Pulmonologists | Psychiatrists | Radiation Oncologists | Radiologists | Rheumatologists | Sleep Medicine Doctors | Sports Medicine Doctors | Urologists >> See All Specialists