Multiple sclerosis is a long-term disease with debilitating effects on the spinal cord, brain, and optic nerves. It causes patients to have progressive problems with balance, vision, muscle control, and numerous other basic functions of the body. There are numerous variations of multiple sclerosis characterized by the disease course. Even though nerve damage is a common characteristic of everyone affected by multiple sclerosis, the pattern the disease and its symptoms follow is unique to each patient living with it. A diagnosis is made using long-established criteria and the elimination of other possible causes of a patient's symptoms. Spinal fluid analysis, magnetic resonance imaging, and blood tests are often used to rule out other possible conditions and diseases. There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms, slowing disease progression, and expedited recovery from attacks.
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Immune System Malfunction
The immune system of multiple sclerosis patients causes the central nervous system or the brain and spinal cord to become inflamed and damaged. There are a few main types of immune cells involved in the affected individual's abnormal immune response. T-cells enter the central nervous system through the blood vessels after becoming activated in the lymph system. When the T-cells enter the central nervous system, they release harmful chemicals that cause damage and inflammation to the tissues of the brain and spinal cord. Damage occurs to the nerve fibers, their myelin sheathing, and the cells that produce myelin. The type of cells in the immune system responsible for deactivating inflammation or T-regulatory cells are non-functional in multiple sclerosis patients. T-cells help activate the other type of immune system cell involved with multiple sclerosis called B-cells, which stimulate the action of certain proteins and make antibodies that cause direct damage to the cells in the central nervous system. A combination of these malfunctions in an individual's immune system causes multiple sclerosis to occur.
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