What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

THE ESSENTIAL

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
  • That is, the defense system (immune system) normally involved in fighting viruses and bacteria gets carried away and attacks the myelin, the protective sheath covering nerve fibers that plays an important role in transmitting nerve impulses from the brain to different parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis? “They are very broad because multiple sclerosis affects the entire central nervous system, meaning the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord,” explains Jérôme de Sèze, professor of neurology at the University Hospital of Strasbourg and specialist in autoimmune diseases and neuroophthalmology.

The occurrence of neurological disorders that affect various functions (motor skills, sensitivity, vision, balance, coordination of movements, etc.) and develop in initially regressive episodes is a strong indicator of multiple sclerosis. Doctors speak of inflammatory flare-ups“temporal and distributed in the central nervous system”. But the symptoms can be much more deceptive, especially with mood issues (depression or manic disorder) that can produce bipolar disorder, while dealing with demyelination plaques that affect the limbic system and are located in the deep brain.

Genetically

“Multiple sclerosis is not an inherited disease in the genetic sense, which means we don’t know the gene for multiple sclerosis, we only have genes for inflammation associated with the development of the disease. What we do know is that the risk of passing multiple sclerosis to one’s children is less than 5%,” adds the specialist.

“Multiple sclerosis is a serious disease. It’s true, when this diagnosis is made, patients either don’t know it, or they immediately see the disability, the cane and the wheelchair,” further details Jérôme de Sèze. “Nevertheless, it is a disease whose prognosis has completely changed in 20 years, thanks in particular to the introduction of new ultra-early and increasingly effective therapies that improve life comfort”, he continues.

juvenile illness

Multiple sclerosis is a disease of young adults, often diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 35. 120,000 people in France are now affected by the disease and 3,000,000 new cases are diagnosed every year.

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