What is multiple sclerosis? It is a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. Although the often debilitating symptoms of the disease are clear, scientists have yet to nail down a cause. Some researchers believe that MS is triggered by the body’s own immune system, while others attribute it to viruses such as Epstein-Barr.Other scientists believe that its virtual absence from tropical countries points to a deficiency of vitamin D during childhood. With so many theories about multiple sclerosis, it’s difficult for patients to know what to believe. In this article, we’ll examine the known facts about the disease and MS treatment options.The disease multiple sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord by attacking the protective myelin covering of the central nervous system. This causes inflammation and often destroys the myelin in patches.MS has well defined attacks followed by complete or partial recovery. The severity of MS, progression and specific symptoms cannot be predicted at the time of diagnosis.Multiple sclerosis can occur at any age, and is three times more likely to occur in women than in men, and is seen most commonly in people of northern European background. There is also some evidence to suggest that MS is triggered by a common virus, and that genetics makes some people more susceptible to the disease.Multiple sclerosis symptoms vary greatly from person to person and can include vision disturbances, extreme fatigue, loss of balance, problems with coordination, stiffness of muscles, speech problems, bladder and bowel problems, short-term memory problems, and even partial or complete paralysis.One thing that’s important to remember about multiple sclerosis is that patients will not necessarily experience all the symptoms, and the symptoms improve during periods of remission. The main clinical measure of disability progression and severity of the symptoms is the Expanded Disability Status Scale or EDSS.The one thing that can be said definitively about multiple sclerosis is that there is not yet a cure. While the disease does induce painful symptoms, it is not fatal. Researchers have developed a number of medications that effectively control some symptoms, so patients can continue to love a normal life. These medications do have reported side effects, but the search for better medications is ongoing.MS treatment and medications have proven to be effective in controlling the symptoms, and there is hope for a cure. Researchers are trying to develop techniques to repair damaged myelin and nerve fibers. Scientists are also trying to understand why the immune system attacks the body’s myelin so that these attacks can be prevented.Given enough time and funding, hopefully one day there will be a cure for multiple sclerosis. Until that time, continue to live as full a life as you can.