Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic and progressive disorder of the nervous system in which the myelin sheath around certain nerve fibers breaks down, leaving the raw nerves exposed. At present there is no known cure.
Multiple sclerosis afflicts more than 2.5 million people worldwide and almost half a million in the U.S.
Doctors still do not know the exact cause of MS but in recent years they have made some interesting discoveries. For example, MS is much more prevalent in temperate climates and decreases as one nears the equator. Also, people who move from an area where MS is prevalent prior to adolescence to an area where MS is not common are less likely to contract the disease later in life.
MS does not affect everyone exactly the same. Once diagnosed, it's important for you to learn as much about your case as possible. Dont be afraid to ask your doctor questions and spend time researching the disease to learn more; new treatments and strategies for managing MS are being discovered all the time. To keep up on treatment and learn more about symptoms, check out these overviews:
Your Multiple Sclerosis
Since MS affects different individuals differently and since it is also a progressive disease it is important that you understand what type and what stage your MS is in to better plan your treatment. You can get an excellent overview at:Multiple Sclerosis Foundation
Since MS affects different people differently it can sometimes be hard to diagnose, so you may want to get a second opinion. The Johns Hopkins Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections Remote Second Opinion Program offers a second medical opinion to those who can't travel to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland.Johns Hopkins Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections Remote Second Opinion Program
Survivors Say: Best Resources for Multiple Sclerosis
Books Survivors Recommend
What Survivors Wish Theyd Known
- MayoClinic.com - Multiple Sclerosis: The Mayo Clinic is renowned for its work on multiple sclerosis. This site can help you understand everything from your symptoms and diagnosis through to treatment options. If you've just been diagnosed or know someone who has, this is a great place to begin your journey.
- National MS Society: If you're looking for straight answers theres no place better to begin your search than right here at the National Multiple Sclerosis Societys website. Learn about your treatment options and discover a whole world of resources available to you.
- WebMD Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center: Symptoms, Treatments, Diagnosis, Stages, and Causes WebMD provides a host of answers to common questions about multiple sclerosis in language you can easily understand. You can also talk to others who have MS; find a glossary of terms you'll need to know; and get the latest news about treatments for MS.
MS shows up differently in different people.
The disease is not a death sentence and there are usually ways to improve your situation, even with advanced MS. Arm yourself with good information so you can deal with your illness in the way thats best for you.