What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
It is a progressive, potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system that damages myelin, the protective layer surrounding nerves. This disrupts communication to and from the brain, producing symptoms such as:
- Vision impairment
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Extreme fatigue
- Bladder dysfunction
- Cognitive impairment
- Mood changes
The severity in which people experience the MS symptoms is related to the type of MS they have.
The MS Society of Canada recognizes four different kinds:
- CIS : Clinically-isolated syndrome (which refers to a single episode of neurological symptoms that may suggest MS )
- RRMS : Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis
- SPMS : Secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis
- PPMS: Primary progressive multiple sclerosis
Treatments typically focus on
- speeding recovery from attacks
- slowing the progression of the disease
- managing MS symptoms
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), the majority of people who have MS will experience a relatively normal life span. However, people who have MS also have to contend with other issues that can decrease their quality of life.