MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (sclerosis multiplex, MS) FACTS

Multiple sclerosis is the most common neurological disease in young adults. It is estimated that around 40 thousand people in Poland suffer from this disease.

MS is usually diagnosed in patients between 20 and 40 years of age. The incidence is slightly higher in women than in men (2 men for every 3 women suffering from the disease).

MS appears as a result of damage to myelin, the protective sheath insulating the nerves of the central nervous system. Myelin damage slows down, deforms or even inhibits the brain information transmission to other parts of the body, which in turn stop functioning properly.

The easiest way to understand what happens in MS is to imagine your body as an electric circuit, in which the brain and the spinal cord are sources of power, whereas the limbs and other parts of the body are lighting, computers, television sets etc. Your nerves are electric cables connecting the circuit together, and myelin is the insulation around those cables. Now, imagine that the insulation gets destroyed. Effect? - Defective or explosive equipment and possibly a short circuit.

The patient’s clinical condition is most often assessed using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). It is based on the presence of certain symptoms in a typical neurological examination. These observations are evaluated on the scale from 1 to 9 in each functional system respectively, with 1 meaning minimal signs.

There are four clinical types of MS: relapsing-remitting, primary progressive, secondary progressive and benign.

The factors causing multiple sclerosis are not yet known, but thousands of scientists all over the world are conducting studies of MS in order to solve this mysterious puzzle. There is much evidence suggesting that MS is an autoimmunological disease, i.e. a disease which makes the body fight against its own tissues.