Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune condition of the central nervous system. In MS, the insulating coating around nerve fibres (called myelin) is damaged. Myelin is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses through nerve fibres.
If damage to myelin is slight, nerve impulses travel with minor interruptions; however, if damage is heavy, nerve impulses may be completely disrupted, and the nerve fibres themselves can be damaged.
This damage causes a range of symptoms such as extreme fatigue, lack of coordination, weakness, tingling, impaired sensation, vision problems, bladder problems, cognitive impairment and mood changes.
It is estimated that 2.5 million individuals worldwide suffer from MS and there are about 1000 sufferers here in Malaysia. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Roughly three times as many women have MS as men. MS is the leading cause of disability in the young. Related disorders are Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) and Neuromyelitis Spectrum of Disorders (NMOSD).
Once diagnosed, MS stays with you for life, but treatments and specialists can help you to manage the condition and its symptoms.