The Attack of Multiple Sclerosis
To get a deeper understanding about the inflammatory disease that is called multiple sclerosis, or MS, it is important to have a general idea of how the central of nervous system works.
Central nervous system (CNS) is a composite term for the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerve; although the latter is often not mentioned in most definitions. CNS is further composed of two specialized cells, namely, the neurons and the glia. The billions of nerve cells called neurons are responsible for the basic information processing and communication of the CNS; while glial cells, or neuroglia, serve as the support structure for the neurons. Among the many functions of glia include holding the neurons in place, providing them nutrition, facilitate in the maintenance of homeostasis, and participating in signal transmission in the nervous system.
Furthermore, CNS is composed of two different regions, namely: the grey matter, and the white matter. Grey matter, also known as cerebral cortex, refers to the outer layer of human brain. It is formed by the closely packed neuron cell bodies, and contains the specialized regions inside the brain that are responsible for the muscle control and sensory perceptions. While white matter, on the other hand, refers to the neuronal tissue that contains the myelinated axons. Also known as diencephalon, white matter is located between the cerebellum and brainstem, and is responsible for relaying sensory messages from any of the body part to cerebral cortex, and in controlling the unconscious functions like body temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate. There are also particular cores of white matter that are responsible for the human emotion expression, the releasing of pituitary gland hormones, and water and food intake coordination.
Central nervous system (CNS) is the center of attack of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic and debilitating condition that has affected more than 2.5 million people worldwide. MS is particularly an inflammatory disease that usually affects the white matter tissue, upon which patches of damage known as plaques or lesions encroach; and, where there are patches, myelin is lost. Myelin is that fatty substance that encloses and protects the nerve fibers of the CNS. The type and severity of MS symptoms depend largely on which areas it encroaches. Its symptoms may range from as mild as numbness in the limbs, to severe, which may lead to paralysis and/or loss of vision.
One of the most salient characteristics of MS is that no two people get it in the same way, and its progress, severity, and specific symptoms have varying degrees. Doctors find it difficult to diagnose multiple sclerosis because of certain factors, namely: the disease displays numerous MS symptoms that elicit different reactions from its patients; many, if not most, of the symptoms imitate conditions that are typical of other ailments; no blood test for multiple sclerosis, and; intermittent occurrence of symptoms at an unpredictable course. Besides, many of its symptoms are ambiguous and difficult to measure, specifically fatigue, erectile dysfunction, depression, and cognitive issues.
Multiple sclerosis is, indeed, an individual disease; hence, it is counterproductive to compare the case of one patient with another. What is important, rather, is to provide full support to the sufferer in whatever way possible. After all, it could be a family member or a loved that needs such support.