What is Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system which occurs when the immune system breaks down or damages the myelin, the protective layer which surrounds nerve fibres. This damage causes disruption to messages travelling along nerve fibres, causing them to slow down, become distorted, or not get through at all. As well as myelin loss, there can also sometimes be damage to the actual nerve fibres. It is this nerve damage that causes movement disruption, weakness and spasticity.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis:
Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis:
Relapsing remitting MS is the most common and affects around 85 per cent of those diagnosed. During relapse periods, symptoms appear or are exacerbated. In the remitting periods, symptoms ease or fade away, either partially or completely.
Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis:
A small percentage of people, about 15%, are diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS. Primary symptoms present and then progress gradually.
Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis:
Most people who have relapsing-remitting symptoms will go on to develop secondary progressive MS. Secondary progressive is usually diagnosed when there is a gradual progression of symptoms with no periods of remission, or only a slight ease in symptoms.
Benign MS is when there is a small number of relapses followed by complete recovery of symptoms. However, symptoms can reoccur many years after a period of remission.
There are many different types of MS and different people can experience a wide variety of symptoms at different stages of the disease.
Although each individual is different, some of the most common symptoms of MS are:
- Decreased Mobility
- Balance Difficulties
- Decreased dexterity
- Decreased muscle strength
- Changes or decreased sensation, pins and needles or tingling
- Visual problems
- Muscle stiffness or spasms
- Memory difficulties
- Mood changes
- Heat Sensitivity