How does multiple sclerosis (MS) affect the body?

Herman C. Sullivan, MD
In people with multiple sclerosis (MS) the body's immune system causes inflammatory reactions in the brain, spinal cord and/or optic nerve. MS is a neuroimmunological disease. People with MS can have different symptoms, depending on what area of the body is attacked initially. Everyone's symptoms are unique. When MS affects the optic nerve, visual changes occur. When it affects the spinal cord, people might have changes in balance or how they're walking. People with MS also experience numbness and tingling. Depending on a person's hobbies or activities, MS might impair one person in a different way that it impairs another.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) can affect the body in many ways. The disease causes damage to the lining of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord in such a way that they cannot send signals properly. This can ultimately cause fatigue, weakness, numbness and tingling, as well as problems with walking, vision, sex, control of bowels or bladder and even with thinking and emotional stability.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that alters the functioning of your nervous system. It damages the protective layer that surrounds your body's nerves called the myelin sheath. After the myelin sheath is damaged, it's harder for the nerves to transmit signals throughout the body. That's why there are so many symptoms associated with MS. An impulse traveling on a nerve could be altered anyplace in your body where that nerve is exposed, causing you body to do something different than originally intended.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.