Font Size
A
A
A

Multiple Sclerosis


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic neurological disease of the central nervous system, specifically involving the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Multiple sclerosis causes problems with muscle control and strength, vision, balance, sensation, and mental functions.

The brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves are connected to one another by nerve fibers. A protein coating called myelin surrounds and protects the nerve fibers. Myelin can become inflamed or damaged; this is called demyelination. In MS, immune cells from blood vessels enter the brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves and cause areas of inflammation, demyelination, and nerve damage.

The cause of MS is not known. Although the disease has no cure, medicines can reduce the frequency and severity of attacks in many people. Most people live with the disease for decades. But many people face growing disability as the years go by.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerBarrie J. Hurwitz, MD - Neurology
Last RevisedFebruary 15, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary