December 15, 2018

MS Description

Multiple sclerosis, commonly referred to as MS, is a disease that affects the brain and spinal cord resulting in a loss of muscle control, vision, balance, and sensation. Its exact cause is unknown.  It is estimated that 400,000 Americans suffer from the symptoms of MS.  With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged because of one’s own immune system. Because of its nature, MS is commonly referred to as an autoimmune disease.  Currently, there is no cure for MS.

An autoimmune disease is one in which the body’s immune system, which normally targets and destroys substances foreign to the body (such as bacteria), mistakenly attacks normal tissues. In MS patients, the immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord, which are the main components of the central nervous system.  Nerves act as the body’s messenger system. Each nerve is covered by a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates the nerves and helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, or messages, between the brain and other parts of the body. These messages control muscle movements, such as walking and talking.

Demyelination occurs when the protective and insulating myelin covering the nerves is destroyed. Without myelin, electrical signals transmitted throughout the brain and spinal cord are disrupted or halted. The brain then becomes unable to send and  receive messages. As a result, patients experience tingling, numbness, loss of balance, weakness in one or more limbs, blurred or double vision, slurred speech, sudden onset of paralysis, lack of coordination, fatigue, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and other cognitive difficulties – all of which are noted symptoms of MS.

Due to these symptoms, MS sufferers often find themselves unable to work and will file for Social Security Disability benefits. To read about how the Social Security Administration views Social Security Disability claims based on MS, please click on the link.

Today, despite advancements in medicine, there is no one single drug that effectively treats MS.