Living With Multiple Sclerosis HTML version

“Living with Multiple Sclerosis” by Piet Mesmer
Page 9 of 100
Part-I: Introduction
1. Multiple Sclerosis – An Overview
Multiple sclerosis is a persistent and debilitating disease affecting
the central nervous system (your brain, nerve cells and spinal cord).
This inflammatory disease affects the patient’s mobility and can
cause severe disability.
Some doctors and researchers believe that this is an autoimmune
disease. That is where your immune system tries to defend against
the normal activities of other parts of your body - your immune
system attacks you.
The nervous system consists of neurons, brain, nerve cells and the
spinal cord. They work together to carry information between the
brain and other parts of your body.
Multiple sclerosis destroys the Myelin layer (a protective fatty layer
around the neurons that carry those electrical signals). This disrupts
the vital transfer of electrical signals across the spinal cord and
brain. This scars the myelin sheaths. These scars prevent easy
transmission of the signals. The intensity of the disease relates to
the extent of the scarring and the resultant impact on the rate and
quality of the transfer of the signals.
There are around two and half million people in the world with
multiple sclerosis. Around 350,000 people in the U.S.A. suffer from
this disease. The disease most often starts between the ages of
twenty and forty. Sometimes, it occurs a bit later.
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