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A 25-year-old male asked:

What is multiple sclerosis? what is multiple sclerosis?

11 doctor answers14 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pavle Repovic
Specializes in Neurology
Multiple : Multiple sclerosis (ms) is a disease of the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord and optic nerves) that is driven primarily by the immune system. It results in "demyelination", or loss of myelin, which is an insulating and protective cover for the neurons. Without this cover, the neurons can sometimes die, or malfunction, which results in ms symptoms. Because neurons control most body functions, ms symptoms can be extremely variable. The most common symptoms in ms result from the damage to neurons in visual, sensory and motor systems, and manifest as blurry vision, numbness or tingling, and weakness. Typically, the ms manifests in the form of relapses, which is to say, sudden neurological problems, and these patients are said to have relapsing ms. In a subgroup of ms patients, the problems develop slowly, over months or years, and these people have progressive ms. It is possible also to have progressive and relapsing ms at the same time, though this is less common. There is no known cause of ms, but there are approved and effective treatments available for relapsing forms of ms. These treatments do not reverse the damage, but can help prevent future relapses. These should be discussed with your physician in more detail, because they have different mechanisms of action, risks and benefits. For further reading on ms, i would suggest the national ms society website (www.Nmss.Org).
Dr. Jack Mutnick
Allergy and Immunology 17 years experience
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Definition: Ms is an autoimmune disorder, associated with genetic and environmental influences. But we know that 99.5% of patients have had exposure to ebstein-barr virus, that vitamin d-3 deficiency may be a risk factor, that living north of latitude 42 increases incidence, and that cigarette smoking may be another risk factor.
Dr. Olav Jaren
Neurology 19 years experience
What is MS: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain, spinal cord, and / or optic nerves. It may cause attacks of symptoms or follow a progressive course. It may affect different areas of the these body parts at different times over many years. It may be either aggressive or benign.
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Autoimmune mediated: Disorder affecting brain, spinal cord, and nerves to eyes, occurring in genetically susceptible individuals who encounter environmental triggers. Inflammatory white cells mistakenly attack myelin coverings of nerve fibers, and create progressive symptoms and disability if potent disease modifying agents are not started. It is the major cause of neurological disability in young adults.
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Definition: Ms is an autoimmune disorder, associated with genetic and environmental influences. But we know that 99.5% of patients have had exposure to ebstein-barr virus, that vitamin d-3 deficiency may be a risk factor, that living north of latitude 42 increases incidence, and that cigarette smoking may be another risk factor.
Dr. William Gaya
Neurology 29 years experience
Multiple sclerosis : Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder in which the brain and spinal cord become the target of our own immune system. The myelin, important brain substance that facilitates brain cell communication, gets damaged in multiple areas over time as result of this inflammatory response. Patients symptoms may vary based on the area affected by the inflammation or demyelination.
Dr. Laura McMullen
Pediatrics 21 years experience
Multiple : Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the protective covering around nerves in the spinal cord and brain. I've attached a few good websites below that discuss ms in much more detail.
Dr. John Rhoades
Family Medicine 48 years experience
Here is brief summar: MS is a nerve disorder caused by destruction of the insulating layer surrounding neurons in the brain and spinal cord. This insulation, called myelin, helps electrical signals pass quickly and smoothly between the brain and the rest of the body. When the myelin is destroyed, nerve messages are sent more slowly and less efficiently. Patches of scar tissue, called plaques, form over the affected areas, further disrupting nerve communication. The symptoms of MS occur when the brain and spinal cord nerves no longer communicate properly with other parts of the body. MS causes a wide variety of symptoms and can affect vision, balance, strength, sensation, coordination, and bodily functions. Multiple sclerosis affects more than a quarter of a million people in the United States. Most people have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40; symptoms rarely begin before 15 or after 60. Women are almost twice as likely to get MS as men, especially in their early years. People of northern European heritage are more likely to be affected than people of other racial backgrounds, and MS rates are higher in the United States, Canada, and Northern Europe than in other parts of the world. MS is very rare among Asians, North and South American Indians, and Eskimos.
Dr. Linda Tao
Cardiology 35 years experience
Autoimmune condition: It is a condition where your own immune system attacks the sheaths (myelin) which covers your nerve fibers. Common symptoms include weakness in muscles due to slow/ damaged nerve conduction. Lowering Inflammation in your body via diet, stress reduction, anti-inflammatory supplements may delay, stabilize and improve the condition.
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Definition: Ms is an autoimmune disorder, associated with genetic and environmental influences, where immune system attacks brain, spinal cord, and eyes. But we know that 99.5% of patients have had exposure to ebstein-barr virus, that vitamin d-3 deficiency may be a risk factor, that living north of latitude 42 increases incidence, and that cigarette smoking may be another risk factor.

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A 36-year-old member asked:

My mom has multiple sclerosis, could I have it too?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Unlikely, but: Here is the hereditary risk on your mom's side. The children have a 3-5% chance of also developing ms. However, this is complex, and you would also need an environmental trigger, such as consumption of high fat, high salt diet, cigarette smoking, prior infectious mononucleosis, low vitamin d levels. And of course, the odds are quite low that you will encounter this.
Netherlands
A 25-year-old female asked:

I am afraid of having multiple sclerosis. .....:(?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Robert Killian
General Practice 28 years experience
Fear of diagnosis: I am sorry to hear that. I have the philosophy that it is better to know than to worry. I would get in to your family doctor and express your concerns and symptoms.
A 41-year-old member asked:

How do you treat multiple sclerosis ?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Many successful ways: Although not curable yet, ms in many cases is both treatable and controllable. The most potent medicine on the market is tysabri, (natalizumab) followed by gilenya, and then a group of injectables, including interferons (such as betaseron) and copaxone. Several exciting drugs are finishing research and may be available in the next few years. Many physicians recommend vitamin d, b complexes, aerobic exercise.
A 39-year-old member asked:

How do you diagnose multiple sclerosis?

1 doctor answer5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Clinical diagnosis: Although the MRI can help support the diagnosis, and spinal fluid analysis may help, the diagnosis ultimately depends on a physician analysing history and exam findings, and making certain that alternative problems are not the true diagnosis.
A 35-year-old member asked:

What are some effects of multiple sclerosis?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bennett Machanic
Neurology 52 years experience
Varies sharply: Ms is an autoimmune disorder which attacks nerve coverings in brain and spinal cord, with potential loss of vision, gait instability or loss of balance, leg weakness and spasticity, bladder incontinence, but also fatigue, cognitive problems, the latter of which provides severe disability if not effectively treated. Good news, more effective meds are here! not yet a cure, however.

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