Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, causing the destruction of the myelin sheaths. This damage results in decreased communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body.
Multiple Sclerosis affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide, and is twice as common in women. Patients are usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.
Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include fatigue, numbness, trouble with walking, balancing and coordination, bladder dysfunction, vision problems, pain, and cognitive dysfunction including an inability to learn and remember information, organize, plan and solve problems.
Less common symptoms might include difficulty swallowing, headaches, speech disorder, hearing loss, seizures and respiratory problems.
Although there is currently no cure for MS, a person living with the disease can have an increased quality of life with the help of physicians, pharmacists and loved ones.
Most treatments involve a combination of medications and non-pharmacologic interventions such as rehabilitation and lifestyle modification. Patients see the best results when they adhere to the treatment designed for their individual needs.