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Multiple Sclerosis

Also called: MS

Summary

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a nervous system disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. It damages the myelin sheath, the material that surrounds and protects your nerve cells. This damage slows down or blocks messages between your brain and your body, leading to the symptoms of MS. They can include

  • Visual disturbances
  • Muscle weakness
  • Trouble with coordination and balance
  • Sensations such as numbness, prickling, or "pins and needles"
  • Thinking and memory problems

No one knows what causes MS. It may be an autoimmune disease, which happens when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. Multiple sclerosis affects women more than men. It often begins between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually, the disease is mild, but some people lose the ability to write, speak, or walk.

There is no single test for MS. Doctors use a medical history, physical exam, neurological exam, MRI, and other tests to diagnose it. There is no cure for MS, but medicines may slow it down and help control symptoms. Physical and occupational therapy may also help.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Start Here

  • (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in

Diagnosis and Tests

Treatments and Therapies

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF

Living With

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (ALS Association) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • Mobility Aids: FreeFacebookCredits2012 Health Topic From the National Institutes of Health - Canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs Also in Spanish
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Related Issues

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (American Academy of Neurology) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF Also in
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) - Short Summary
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) Also in
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

Specifics

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • Video (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Statistics and Research

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases)
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)
  • (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in
  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Find an Expert

  • (American Academy of Neurology)
  • From the National Institutes of Health Also in

Children

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)
  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF

Teenagers

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) - PDF

Women

  • (National Multiple Sclerosis Society)

Patient Handouts

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