MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

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Pathophysiology of Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, affecting the brain and spinal cord. MS affects approximately 400,000 people in the United States alone. The onset of MS is usually between 20 and 40 years of age and is more common in women; men may have a more severe progressive course (Luzzio, 2013). Life expectancy is shortened in persons with MS, and the survival rate is linked to disability. Death usually results from secondary complications but can also be due to primary complications unrelated to MS. The occurrence rate of MS is affected by gene-environment interactions in susceptible individuals (Huether & McCance, 2012).
Definition of Disorder Multiple sclerosis is a progressive, inflammatory, demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS), which can affect the peripheral nervous system (PNS) as well. This disorder affects movements, sensation, and bodily functions (National Multiple Sclerosis Society [NMSS], 2012). There are several types of MS, these include: mixed (general), spinal, and cerebellar. General MS affects both the CNS and PNS, while spinal and cerebellar affect the CNS.
Causes and Etiological Factors The cause of MS is unknown, but multiple factors act together to trigger or bring about the disease. Some of these causes include: a virus causing demyelization, violent trauma to the head or spinal cord, and or an immune system attack which causes the body to attack the myelin sheaths around the neurons in the ascending and descending pathways (NMSS, 2012). In the disorder of MS, the nerves are damaged by one's own immune system. Because of this, the condition is called an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune diseases are those whereby the body's immune system, which normally targets and destroys substances foreign to the body such as bacteria, mistakenly attacks normal tissues (NMSS, 2012). In MS, the immune system attacks

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