Multiple Sclerosis - Overview



What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that causes vision problems, numbness and tingling, muscle weakness and other problems. It happens when the body's infection-fighting cells attack and damage nerve cells and the connections in the brain and spinal cord. When the body attacks its own cells, it is called an "autoimmune response“.


What are the symptoms?

The condition can cause many symptoms, but not everyone with MS has all symptoms. In general, because the condition affects the brain and all its connections, symptoms can be somewhat vague. MS symptoms can include:


  • Numbness, tingling, and feeling "pins and needles"
  • Muscle weakness or cramps, which can cause you to drop things or fall
  • Vision problems, eye pain and strange eye movements
  • Feeling dizzy or off-balance, which can cause you to fall
  • Trouble walking or speaking
  • Problems controlling your bowels or bladder
  • Sex problems
  • Sensitivity to heat, that can make symptoms worse
  • Trouble thinking clearly


Most people with MS only present with a few of the symptoms.  Severe forms of MS can have most or all of them. It differs from person to person.

The exact cause of MS is not known, but often it runs in families. There are many different types of medication that your doctor might prescribe, depending on your specific symptoms. Using this medication as directed is the best way to improve your quality of life and ensure that you can be happy and healthy for as long as possible. 

Your doctor might recommend sessions with a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. Follow their advice and instructions as closely as possible as this can help you to remain functional and strong. 

Speak to your doctor if you need more information.




Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window

References: Oh J, Vidal-Jordana A, Montalban X. Multiple sclerosis: clinical aspects. Curr Opin Neurol. 2018 Dec;31(6):752-759.

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