Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disorder of the central nervous system, that is, the brain and spinal cord. For reasons not yet understood, the so called myelin layer, which surrounds the nerves as a protective layer and ensures smooth impulse transmission, is randomly attacked by the defence cells of the immune system in multiple sclerosis, and destroyed in a variety of places. The consequence: Nerve signals are transmitted with delays, so that failure symptoms may occur.
Progress of multiple sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is usually chronic, progresses in stages, and often begins in early adulthood between 20 and 40 years of age. It shows differing symptoms from patient to patient. The early signs include numbness in the arms and legs, disturbances in equilibrium and visual abilities. However, initially occurring symptoms generally subside almost completely. Only in the further progression of multiple sclerosis, new problems such as tiredness, coordination disturbances or pain develop; these may remain permanently. Only in individual cases, the illness leads to severe disability within a few years.
Modern therapies prevent advancement of multiple sclerosis
According to statements by the German Multiple Sclerosis Association, approximately 120 000 persons are affected by MS in Germany; women are more frequently affected than men. So far, it is not possible to heal MS, however modern medications and therapies can reduce the length and frequency of stages and prevent advancement of the illness. Comprehensive rehabilitation measures can also treat the effects of multiple sclerosis.