Ohio Neurologic Institute

Specializing in Neurologic and Sleep Disorders

Multiple Sclerosis

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) that can range from relatively benign to somewhat disabling to devastating, as communication between the brain and other parts of the body is disrupted. 

Many investigators believe MS to be an autoimmune disease -- one in which the body, through its immune system, launches a defensive attack against its own tissues. In the case of MS, the nerve-insulating myelin comes under assault. While the cause of these assaults is unknown, they may be linked to an environmental trigger like a virus.

Most people experience their first symptoms of MS between the ages of 20 and 40; the initial symptom of MS can be blurred or double vision, red-green color distortion, or even blindness in one eye.  Many MS patients have weakness in their extremities and difficulty with coordination and balance.  These symptoms may be severe enough to impair walking or even standing. In the worst cases, MS can produce partial or complete paralysis. 

Many people with MS have paresthesias, transitory abnormal sensory feelings such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles" sensations.  Some may also experience pain.  Speech impediments, tremors, and dizziness are other frequent complaints.  Approximately half of all people with MS experience cognitive impairments such as difficulties with concentration, attention, memory, and poor judgment, but such symptoms are usually mild and are frequently overlooked.  Depression is another common feature of MS.

There are medications to reduce the number of exacerbations of multiple sclerosis and treat fatigue and other symptoms of the disease.


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