What is MS?

Multiple Sclerosis is a condition that causes damage to the nerve coverings in the Central Nervous System (the brain and spinal cord).

Our bodies use nerves to communicate by sending signals. Nerves are protected by a covering called myelin. In MS your immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin resulting in the messages being slowed or stopped. 

How MS affects you is determined by where the damage is. As a result the symptoms you experience, whilst they may be similar, are not the same as someone else’s. Sometimes MS can be progressive, in others symptoms may come and go. 

Types of MS

You may have a type of MS where symptoms are heightened for a period before they lessen again. This is called Relapsing Remitting and is the most common form of MS.

Alternatively you may have a gradual worsening of symptoms. This is called Primary Progressive.

For some people MS starts as Relapsing Remitting and turns progressive. This is called Secondary Progressive

Symptoms of MS

MS is different for everyone. There are many different symptoms and it is unlikely that you will have all symptoms.

The NHS website lists some of the most common symptoms as:

  • fatigue.
  • vision problems.
  • numbness and tingling.
  • muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness.
  • mobility problems.
  • pain.
  • problems with thinking, learning and planning.
  • depression and anxiety.

For more information please visit the MS Trust website.

Key facts about MS

  • There are over 150,000 people diagnosed with MS in the UK and 2.8 million worldwide so you are not alone. 
  • More than 7,100 people are newly diagnosed in the UK each year
  • MS can be very variable and unpredictable.
  • There are many invisible symptoms of MS.
  • 71% of people with MS are women, meaning women are two and a half times more likely than men to be diagnosed with MS
  • No two people will have the same MS experience.
  • Most people are diagnosed in their 30s and 40s and it is the most common neurological condition in young people.
  • There is no cure ….yet. 
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