12 März 2006

What is MS?

MS is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS); it damages the protective coating around the nerves (neurons) which transmit messages to all parts of your body, especially to do with the control of muscular and sensory activity. It is thought to be an autoimmune disease: this is where your body’s own immune system appears to attack itself. As the damage to the protective coating around the nerves – called myelin – increases, it leads to a process known as demyelination where the coating is gradually destroyed. These nerves then become less and less efficient at transmitting messages. The messages, as it were, ‘leak’ from the nerves where demyelination has occurred, rather like the loss of an electric current through a cable that is not insulated. As the messages ‘leak’, they become weaker and more erratic, thus leading to greater and greater difficulty in controlling muscles or certain sensory activities in various parts of your body. However, which nerves are demyelinated, in which order, and at what rate, varies very widely between individuals, so the corresponding loss of muscular and sensory control also varies widely. Moreover, even when damage does occur to the myelin, it is gradually repaired (i.e. remyelination occurs) through internal body repair mechanisms; also, what might be described as ‘inflammation’ at the site of the damage often becomes less over time. However, in MS the rate of repair is slower than the rate at which the myelin is damaged; so the damage tends to accumulate more and more throughout the central nervous system. This damage results in plaques or lesions, which take the form of patchy scarring (multiple scleroses) where the demyelination has occurred. Thus the name ‘multiple sclerosis’ has evolved.

this is my biggest problem but on the other hand a "gift" life gave to me...