Basics of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune disorder that is associated with an irregular immune system response aimed at the central nervous system, which includes the brain, optic nerves, and spinal cord. The immune system mistakenly targets myelin, which is the fatty matter that envelops and shields the nerve fibers. When myelin’s protective coating gets impaired, this results in scar tissue. This damage then begins to have a huge effect on the nerve signals between the spinal cord and brain, leading to a wide array of symptoms.

What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

Even though the exact cause of multiple sclerosis has yet be pinpointed, researchers theorize that a multitude of factors may play a role in the development of the disease. There are continuing studies in the fields of immunology and genetics to get a better understanding of what causes the condition – unearthing the exact cause of MS could potentially lead to the discovery of a definitive cure.

In MS, an irregular immune system response mistakenly targets and destroys the myelin shielding the nerve fibers within the central nervous system. Over the last few years, researchers have had success in pinpointing which immune cells are responsible for the attack, what prompts them to attack, and certain receptors on these cells that seem to be drawn to the myelin to incite the damaging action. Uncovering more about the immune system response associated with MS appears to be an integral part of reaching a more profound understanding of what causes multiple sclerosis.

There are also some genetic and environmental factors at play. For instance, individuals with certain genes appear to be more susceptible to multiple sclerosis. Studies have also revealed that smoking can contribute to an increased risk of MS.

In some people, the development of MS appears to be connected to an impaired immune system caused by a viral infection. In other words, a viral infection such as the human herpesvirus 6 can result in the development of MS and trigger relapses.

There is also growing amount of research that points to a connection between vitamin D and multiple sclerosis, suggesting that an adequate vitamin D intake can strengthen the immune system and keep multiple sclerosis at bay.

How Is MS Treated?

Since its exact cause is still a mystery, MS is also still incurable. However, there is a variety of treatment options in use to address its symptoms. There are medications that repress the progression of the condition, prevent attacks, and improve symptoms. The most common MS medications are beta , copolymer-1, daclizumab, and . Steroids can also be used to decrease the duration and rigor of your MS relapses. Your physician may also recommend some other treatment options to improve some other MS symptoms, including taking muscle relaxants and using to ease muscle spasms.

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Posted on May 22, 2023