MS disease (also known as multiple sclerosis) is a condition that affects the transmission of nerve impulses in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This unpredictable disease is the leading cause of disability among young adults. Approximately 250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with MS.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS for short, is a disease of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). It usually first appears between the ages of 20 and 40, and affects women twice as often as men. It is the leading cause of disability among young adults.
Although multiple sclerosis was first diagnosed in 1849, the earliest known description of a person with possible MS disease dates from fourteenth-century Holland.
MS is an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. People who have MS may lose coordination and muscle control. However, many people with MS are only mildly affected and continue to lead their lives much as they did before their diagnosis.
There are four patterns of MS disease. The more common pattern is an episode of symptoms lasting days or weeks, followed by a period of no symptoms for weeks or months. This type of multiple sclerosis is called relapsing-remitting MS.
A less common pattern of the disease involves a steady worsening of symptoms from the first sign of illness. This is called primary progressive MS.
The two other main forms of MS include secondary-progressive and progressive-relapsing.
(Click Types of Multiple Sclerosis for more information.)