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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system. It may affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve and impacts more young people in Australia than any other chronic neurological disease. The term multiple sclerosis means ‘many scars’ and depending on where those scars (lesions) develop, they result in various symptoms.
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common diseases of the central nervous system. It may affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve and impacts more young people in Australia than any other chronic progressive neurological disease.
Although there is currently no known cure for MS, but many genetic and environmental factors have been shown to contribute to its development.
The current hypothesis is that the disease appears in those individuals who have a genetic predisposition to react to some infectious agents such as a virus or bacterium.
While several different viruses and bacteria have been studied for their possible role in MS, the trigger(s) have not yet been found. Environmental and psychological factors may play a part that we do not yet understand. We do know, however, that MS is not a contagious disease and you do not need to be concerned about transmitting MS to those around you.
Wrongly programmed immune cells enter the CNS, causing inflammation in the brain, spinal cord, and/or optic nerves. It is this inflammation that can cause damage to the protective myelin coasting around the nerve cells, producing scars (also called plaques of lesions) that interfere with nerve transmission. While many of these cards may have no apparent effect, other are responsible for the various symptoms of MS.
What are the typical symptoms of MS?
There are 3 most common 'types' of MS:
- Relapsing remitting MS is the most common form of MS. It is characterised by flare-ups of the neurological symptoms of MS, also known as relapses or attacks, followed by periods of recovery or remission.
- Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) is a secondary phase of relapsing remitting MS that can develop years, to decades following the initial onset of relapsing symptoms. SPMS is characterised by a progressive worsening of symptoms (accumulation of disability) over time, with no obvious signs of remission.
- Primary progressive MS (PPMS) is diagnosed in approximately 10-15% of people with MS. PPMS is characterised by a progressive worsening of symptoms and disability right from the beginning, without periods of recovery or remission.
Whats does MS Queensland do?
For the past 60 years, MS Queensland has provided care and support to Queenslanders living with MS, and more recently, other progressive neurological diseases. Our promise is to put our customers wellbeing at the centre of everything we do. We are committed to helping them get the best out of life, advocating for change and searching for a cure. Find out more about multiple sclerosis and MS Queensland at www.msqld.org.