Dr. Hendin describes multiple sclerosis and explains why symptoms are unique for each patient.
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Multiple Sclerosis and Its Varying Symptoms Dr. Barry J. Hendin: Multiple Sclerosis or MS is considered an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune really means that in some way, the immune system that is supposed to prevent infections, fight off viruses and bacteria somehow misinterprets the central nervous system, our brain and our spinal cord as being alien or foreign requiring an attack. That attack is against one of the components of the nervous system to myelin that coats nerves, the insulating material around nerves. It’s relatively common in young adults. That means 400,000 people in America have MS, more women than men. 400,000 mean about one in a thousand people. But women, two or three times more often than man. MS symptoms manifest themselves differently for each individual based on where in the nervous system the attack occurs. So, if the attack occurs in the optic nerve, the presentation is with loss of vision called optic-neuritis. If the attack occurs in the brain stem, the back of the brain, it may be with double vision or incoordination. If the attack is in the spinal cord, it may be with numbness or weakness below a certain point to the chest. These are common presentations but because the central nervous system is a wide territory, every individual has the possibility of their unique attack.