What is Multiple Sclerosis?

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Understanding Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex disease that's both difficult to understand and to live with. If you want answers, you'll find them on the Web. The nation's top MS research foundations, clinics, support networks, and health sites provide extensive information on the background of the disease, treatment options, coping, research, and much more. Use this guide to increase your understanding of MS, and become proactive in caring for yourself or your loved one.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that, according to the Mayo Clinic, affects roughly 300,000 people in the United States. The prevailing theory is that the body's immune system turns on itself and attacks the layer of insulating tissue that protects the nerve fibers surrounding the spinal cord and brain, resulting in a variety of symptoms that may include muscle weakness, blurred vision, difficulty walking, depression, and paralysis.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Like most diseases and disorders, MS has inspired several publicly and/or privately funded foundations devoted to helping its sufferers through education and research. These foundations typically summarize and promote their programs and their latest findings on their Web sites, and are thus valuable sources of information. An example is found at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's site, which clearly describes new and old research efforts.
  • If you encounter unfamiliar medical terms while doing your research, consult a medical dictionary or encyclopedia. A good place to start is with the HealingWell.com glossary of MS-related terms. By using these resources you'll have a better chance of fully comprehending lingo-laden articles.

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