Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition and auto-immune disorder that affects the brain and central nervous system.
Our bodies use nerves to communicate and send signals. Nerves are protected by a covering called myelin. In MS the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin, resulting in the disruption of messages between your brain and body.
Over 130,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with MS, which is about one person in every 600. It is nearly three times more common in women than in men, with most people being diagnosed in their 20s and 30s.
The exact nature of MS symptoms will be determined by where the damage is, and it will affect each person differently. Some can lead relatively normal lives with occasional acute episodes, while others will experience ongoing progressive symptoms. Varying progression rates mean that our members have differing degrees of mobility and many are wheelchair users.
Types of MS
You may have a type of MS where symptoms flare up aggressively, followed by a period of recovery. This is called relapsing remitting and is the most common form of MS (about 85%).
Between 10 and 15% of people are diagnosed with primary progressive MS, where disability increases from the beginning and it is rare to have any relapses.
Many people who are initially diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS find that, over time, their symptoms change. They have fewer or no relapses, but their disability increases. This is known as secondary progressive MS.
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