Case study: A 28-year-old student has noticed an increasing visual impairment in one eye for three days. She has the feeling of looking through a frosted glass pane. Soon she will be able to see almost nothing with the eye. First, she visits an ophthalmologist, who will soon send her to a neurologist. After some examinations, he expresses the suspicion of multiple sclerosis.
So or similarly, sometimes the history of the disease begins with multiple sclerosis. It is one of the most common neurological diseases in young adulthood.
Multiple sclerosis (MS, Latin multiplex = multiple; Greek scleros = hard) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. There are many indications that it is an autoimmune disease.
Here you can find out about the basics, symptoms, course and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system that involves the brain and spinal cord and usually begins in early adulthood. The disease still leaves many questions unanswered and varies so much from patient to patient in terms of course, symptoms and therapeutic success that generally valid statements can only be made to a limited extent. For this reason, MS is also known as the “disease with the 1000 faces”.
Important: Multiple sclerosis is not contagious, not necessarily fatal, no muscle atrophy and no mental illness. The often widespread prejudices that MS leads to a life in a wheelchair in any case are also not correct.
With the following information we would like to reduce prejudices and provide you with factual information. We would like to thank Prof. Dr. med. Andrew Chan, Head of the University Outpatient Neurocenter, Inselspital, University Hospital Bern (Switzerland) and member of the Medical Advisory Board of the German Multiple Sclerosis Society, Bundesverband e.V..
Basics of MS
Signs / Symptoms of MS
The diagnosis: how is MS detected?
How can MS proceed?
What causes MS?
Therapy and treatment
Living with MS
Multiple sclerosis – briefly summarized
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system.
Around 2.5 million people worldwide have MS, of which around 200,000 in Germany. 70 Percent of those affected are women.
The risk of developing MS in the general population (Germany) is 0.1 to 0.2 percent.
The typical age of onset is between 20 and 40 years.
The cause is still unclear. However, there are convincing arguments that there is an auto-immune reaction: the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own structures, in this case the enveloping layer of nerve fibers.
Environmental factors and hereditary factors play a role. For example, vitamin D deficiency in childhood, smoking and certain viruses increase the risk of MS.
MS is “the disease with the many faces” because the symptoms are so diverse.
Multiple sclerosis can proceed very differently. In most cases, it begins in a relapsing form, with temporarily symptom-free phases, and later passes into a secondary progressive course. From the very beginning, 10 to 15 percent of patients have a progressive course.
So far, MS cannot be cured, but it can be treated well. The main goals of therapy are to prevent relapses, delay the onset of a possible disability and slow or stop its progression.
MS and family are not mutually exclusive: in principle, nothing stands in the way of starting a family.