What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

Those who have become victims of Multiple Sclerosis, either directly or through the suffering of a close friend or family member with the disease, can only wonder just how it could have happened. While the cure is unknown, and treatments are limited, there are some pieces of information out there that might prove to be useful to you.

To get a better understanding of what causes Multiple Sclerosis, it is important to comprehend just what the disease does. When a person has Multiple Sclerosis, they will experience degeneration of the nerves of the central nervous system. The nerves of the brain and spinal cord are inflamed with lesions, or plaques, and are stripped of myelin. Myelin is the sheath of fatty insulation that wraps around the axons of the neurons in the brain. It helps regulate the speed in which messages are sent from the brain to the body.

When the neurons lose their myelin sheath, the brain in no longer to communicate with the rest of the body as it should. So, when a disease such as Multiple Sclerosis occurs, any of the body’s functions can be affected. The patient may have trouble with their vision, their speech, their motor skills- no two cases are exactly alike, and they are as individual as the patient who has it. Some patients will experience episodes of weakness of the limbs and other symptoms, and then feel normal in between flare ups, while other patients will feel as though their motor skills steadily and gradually deteriorating.

Most people are diagnosed with MS as young adults. The condition is more common in females and Caucasians, though it is unclear why. A person is not born with Multiple Sclerosis, and it is not a genetic disease, though studies show that those with a family history of the disease may be more susceptible to it. Research has also shown that those who live far from the equator might be more likely to get MS, which could attribute to the condition being partially caused by environmental factors such as low exposure to Vitamin D in sunlight.

A separate disease, called Chronic Cerebrospinal Venous Insufficiency, or CCSVI, is theorized to be linked as one of many possible multiple sclerosis causes. Those with CCSVI do not necessarily have Multiple Sclerosis, however. The condition is characterized by problematic veins leading back from the central nervous system to the heart, which causes difficulties in blood flow. While a surgery to essentially “stretch” the veins has been developed, and though it is rarely performed outside of medical trials. Many medical professionals argue that the surgery is too risky and might do more harm than good, though more evidence to support it might soon become available.