Signs, Symptoms and Causes of Multi Sclerosis (MS)

by Munira Qaid Johar
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As a disease disabling the central nervous system, Multiple sclerosis (MS) attacks the myelin sheath covering the nerve fibers and then causes the nerves to degenerate into permanent damaged. This degeneration leads to some people being unable to walk, and others to experience remission. Although there’s no tangible remedy for MS yet there are treatments that can help prevent or recover from attacks or even control symptoms.

A few initial theories regarding the causes of sclerosis has been disproved. For example, living with pets, such as domestic dogs, or exposure to heavy metals; even specific environmental allergies and suffering from physical trauma has been linked to the causes of MS. However, only recently a few indisputable factors have been discovered to be associated with this disease. These have been categorized into four major types.

Geographical influence on Multi Sclerosis

First, there are researchers on the numerous environmental factors that might contribute to developing MS. There is a considered geographic influence because MS is found to recur frequently in people living further from the equator. Age, gender, and other demographics are considered alongside genetics and probable patterns in migration in the study of the causes of MS.

It is found that migration of people born in areas with higher risk of MS to an area with lower risk, at an early age, before puberty, might reduce their tendency to incubate this disease.

Statistically perceiving cases of MS in a specific time period and location provides pieces of evidence for environmental influences on MS. These are called cluster studies. Alongside smoking and obesity, especially at childhood or early adolescence, as risk factors in the development of MS, low Vitamin D levels are considered to play a crucial role.

Since exposure to the sun is believed to help, it explains the distribution of MS towards the northern and southern hemispheres while lower rates closer to the equator are associated with higher and more direct levels of sunlight.

Secondly, there are immunologic factors. An abnormal response in the central nervous system, interceded by the immune system may end up triggering damage or inflammation to the myelin coating around the axons. Only recently have researchers been able to expose the cells, in response to MS, which affect the central nervous system. More research is going on to find out how and what might be able to stop this degeneration.

MS due to infectious virus

Thirdly, infectious factors like the surfeit of bacteria and other viruses including human herpesvirus-6 and measles are associated with the development of MS. One of the viruses, also known for definite causes of mononucleosis, the EBV virus is under recent observations for study.

Finally, the genetic factors of MS are quite decisive. Although it is not a definite, inherited disease, there are certain genetic risks that facilitate MS, which are inherited. Therefore, there are higher risks of contracting MS if there are relatives with a history of the same.  Although there is undergoing research to be aware of these genetic risk, more than 200 genes are known to interpose the risk of MS.

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