Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic nervous system condition affecting the brain and spinal cord. While we don’t fully understand what causes MS, it is believed to be an autoimmune condition. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. In people with MS, this process destroys myelin - the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. This damage then slows down or blocks the messages between the brain and body.

There is no cure for MS, but medication can help slow its progression and relieve symptoms. At SSM Health, we believe that a comprehensive approach to care will results in the best possible outcomes. If you’ve been diagnosed with MS, make an appointment with SSM Health Neurosciences to learn how we can help you minimize your symptoms and maintain your quality of life.

What Causes MS?

The cause of MS is unknown, but researchers believe that immunological, environmental, infectious and genetic factors all have some effect on MS. Continued research efforts help us to better understand this disease and find more effective ways to treat, and ultimately cure, MS.

Signs & Symptoms of MS

As with many conditions, the signs and symptoms of MS are varied and sometimes unpredictable. No two individuals will suffer from the exact same symptoms. In addition, the symptoms of MS may change over time. Common symptoms include:

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

Managing your symptoms is a key component of your comprehensive MS care. Be sure to discuss with your healthcare provider any symptoms you may experience, even if you don’t think they are related to your MS.

Treating MS

While there is no cure for MS, effective management is critical in fighting back against the disease. Medications can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. In addition, your comprehensive care may include lifestyle modifications and physical and occupational therapy.

If you or a loved one is suffering from MS, your multidisciplinary care team will work with you to treat relapses, manage symptoms, improve function and safety and provide necessary emotional support. Find an SSM Health Neurosciences provider today to support you on your MS journey.

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