Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the nervous system. It causes swelling, harm, and scarring of the nerve sheath that covers the brain and spine. There can also be harm to the nerve itself.

Nerve cells (neurons) showing normal and damaged myelin sheaths
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There are many types:

  • Relapsing-remitting—Problems return for few months or years, last for a few weeks or months, and then go away. They may get worse each time.
  • Primary progressive—Problems slowly worsen after they first show up. They don't go away and come back.
  • Secondary progressive—After years of going away and coming back, problems start to get worse.
  • Progressive relapsing—Problems slowly worsen after they first happen. One or more relapses may also happen.
Multiple Sclerosis
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A problem with the body's immune system seems to be the cause. It is not known why this happens. The system protects the body from infection and disease. With MS, it starts attacking the body instead. These health problems may lead to MS:

  • Viral or other infection
  • Your genes
  • Environmental causes
What are the risk factors for multiple sclerosis?What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed?What are the treatments for multiple sclerosis?Are there screening tests for multiple sclerosis?How can I reduce my risk of multiple sclerosis?What questions should I ask my doctor?What is it like to live with multiple sclerosis?Where can I get more information about multiple sclerosis?

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2018 -