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multiple sclerosis
 
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a potentially debilitating disease in which the body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers the nerves. This interferes with the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Ultimately, this may result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that is not reversible.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease, meaning that the body's immune system attacks its own tissues. In multiple sclerosis, this process destroys myelin, the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. When myelin is damaged, the messages that travel along that nerve may be slowed or blocked.
 
Symptoms
Symptoms may include:
  • numbness or weakness in one or more limbs
  • partial or complete loss of vision
  • double vision or blurring of vision
  • tingling or pain in parts of the body
  • lack of coordination or unsteady gait
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
 
Causes
Exactly why multiple sclerosis occurs in some people and not others is not known, however, a combination of factors, ranging from genetics to childhood infections, may play a role.

 
Treatments
Treatment may include:
  • medications
  • physical or occupational therapy
  • plasma exchange (plasmapheresis) - mechanical separation of blood cells from plasma, the liquid part of the blood, sometimes used to help combat severe symptoms of multiple sclerosis relapses

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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