Today, more than two million people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) globally commemorate World Multiple Sclerosis Day and share the challenges of living with MS. World MS Day is a global awareness creation campaign. In support of this important initiative, some quick facts about the disease:
- MS is a disorder of the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
- With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system, making this an autoimmune disease.
- MS affects about 2 million people worldwide.
- Women are twice as likely to get MS than men.
- MS is not yet curable or preventable.
- MS is not contagious.
- The cause of MS is still unknown. It may be caused by a virus, although it is unlikely that there is just one MS virus.
- MS more prevalent in temperate zones such as NZ and Northern Europe.
- The most common early symptoms include muscle weakness, decreased coordination, blurred or hazy vision, eye pain and double vision.
- As the disease progresses, symptoms may include muscle stiffness (spasticity), pain, difficulty controlling urination, or problems with cognition.