Multiple Sclerosis is a progressive disease of the central nervous system. The immune system goes awry, and attacks myelin, the fatty material that enclose tissues in the brain and spinal cord. This affects nerve function and can lead to mild numbness to complete paralysis and blindness.
About 2.5 million people suffer from multiple sclerosis. It is more common among people aged 20 to 40 years old, particularly Caucasians and those who live in tropical climates. Symptoms first emerge as weakness, fatigue, and clumsiness. As the disease progresses, the individual may experience blurred vision and slurred speech, bowel and bladder problems, and sexual dysfunction. As the brain cells are affected, the physical problems expand to include memory loss, lapses in logic and reasoning, and difficulty following a conversation.
The condition may be difficult to diagnose, as there is no one test that can confirm multiple sclerosis. However, common diagnostic tools include an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, of the brain. This test will reveal scars (or sclerosis) in the brain, from which the name of the disease was taken.
Drugs cannot completely cure multiple sclerosis, but it can slow down the progression of the disease. Physical and speech therapy can also help strengthen the muscles.
Web Resources On Multiple Sclerosis
All About Multiple Sclerosis
MedLinePlus: Multiple sclerosis
Book Resources On Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis: The History of a Disease by T. Jock Murray
Managing the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis by Randall T. Schapiro