Chart: What is multiple sclerosis?

  • Updated: November 28, 2012 - 10:04 PM

WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?

Multiple sclerosis is a potentially debilitating disease in which your body's immune system eats away at the protective sheath that covers the nerves. This interferes with the communication between the brain and the rest of the body. Ultimately, this might result in deterioration of the nerves themselves, a process that's not reversible.

Symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected. People with severe cases of multiple sclerosis might lose the ability to walk or speak. Multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose early in the course of the disease because symptoms often come and go -- sometimes disappearing for months.

There's no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, treatments can help treat attacks, modify the course of the disease and treat symptoms.

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