What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common disabling neurological condition to affect young adults and affects approximately 85,000 people in the UK. Overall it is the most common cause of disability in young adults.
What causes MS?
The underlying physiology of the condition remains unclear but appears to be an autoimmune disease with immune cells attached the outer coating of nerve fibres, which are essential for nerves to transmit messages efficiently.
MS usually presents between the ages of 20 and 50 with the mean age of onset at 30 years. The illness affects twice as many women as men. It has been thought to mostly affect white caucasians but there are a significant number of black MS patients in south London.
What are the symptoms of MS?
The disease is unpredictable and complex and is characterised by inflammatory, lesions scattered throughout the central nervous system.
The wide distribution of lesions results in a variety of symptoms including:
- visual disturbance
- muscle weakness
- poor co-ordination and balance
- sensory impairment
- bladder, bowel and or sexual dysfunction
- cognitive problems
- mood disturbances
- speech and swallowing difficulties.
Our MS service is run by Dr Victoria Williams in conjunction with the community MS service.