Symptoms and Signs of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diagnosis, and Life Expectancy

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Diagnosis, and Life Expectancy

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that causes disruption of the myelin sheath that insulates and protects nerve cells of spinal nerve and brain cells. This process is called demyelinization and causes defects in the nerve signals traveling to and from the brain, leading to the symptoms of MS. While the exact mechanism for the myelin destruction is not fully understood, the condition is believed to be an autoimmune disease. Most affected people develop symptoms between the ages of 20 and 50.

Symptoms of MS are varied and can range from mild to severe. The symptoms in a given individual will depend on which areas of nerve tissue have been demyelinated. Symptoms and signs can include numbness, tingling, or weakness in any part of the body; paralysis, tremor, loss of coordination, dizziness, or vertigo. Other associated symptoms can include vision problems like double vision or vision loss, erectile dysfunction, incontinence of urine or inability to empty the bladder, and pregnancy problems in women.

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REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.