Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a progressive neurological disease that affects the Central Nervous System (CNS). So, we shall consider the multiple sclerosis causes.
The progressive disease will be happening steadily, developing gradually or advancing in stages. A Neurological condition relates to the anatomy, the functions, and organic disorders of nerves and the nervous system. And a Disease is an “illness or sickness characterised by specific signs or symptoms.
The central nervous system (CNS) comprises the brain, the spine and the optic nerve.
Furthermore, it is quite normal, after you have been given a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, for you to go through a period of self-recrimination.
However, you may suspect that you have done something wrong. Or think that you should have done something to stop multiple sclerosis. But, the answer is an emphatic “NO”. Nobody could have advised you how to stop MS.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes
Nobody knows, exactly, what causes multiple sclerosis.
However, a combination of factors, almost certainly, combine to trigger the disease.
Multiple Sclerosis is not hereditary. But, there is agreater likelihood of you succumbing to multiple sclerosis when there is a family history.
However, you can develop MS even if you have no family history of the condition.
Scientists believe that people with MS have been born with a genetic susceptibility to react to certain unknown environmental agents.
Epidemiologists have seen an increased pattern of MS cases in countries with a temperate climate. This raises the suspicion that low vitamin D levels have a part to play. We produce vitamin D in our skin when the skin is in sunlight.
However, a predisposition to multiple sclerosis and low vitamin D levels are not enough to cause MS.
It takes some other environmental factor to trigger the immune response. This could be chemical or traffic pollution. Or it could be a bacterial or viral infection.
Central Nervous System
In simple terms, the central nervous system comprises the brain, the optic nerve and the spinal cord.
The CNS can be further divided into grey matter and white matter. Grey matter contains the neurons, dendrites, glial cells, and capillaries.
On the other hand, white matter contains axons and interneuron connections.
Peripheral Nervous System
The network of nerves that link the CNS to the rest of the body are the Peripheral Nervous System. However, scientists do not beleieve that MS affects the peripheral nervous system.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The part of the nervous system responsible for innervation of the heart, smooth muscle, glands and other involuntary structures of the body.
The walls of hollow organs are where you will find the smooth muscle. From an MSer point of view, the involvement of smooth muscle in the bladder and colon will be of special interest.
Scientists do not believe MS affects the autonomic nervous system. But, the MS patients who have difficulty defecating or have trouble with urinary urgency may choose to disagree.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes Immune System
With multiple sclerosis, the immune system wrongly targets the protein in the fatty protective layer surrounding the nerves of the central nervous system (CNS). Many sells are involved in this abnormal immune response.
- T-cells become activated in the lymph and, in MS, enter the brain through the blood-brain barrier. T-cells release chemicals that inflame the myelin and damage the nerves.
- T-regulatory cells are a type of T-cell that dampens the myelin inflammation. In MS, T-regulatory cells do not function correctly and do not, effectively, stop the inflammation.
- Cytotoxic or “killer” T cells directly attack and destroy cells bearing certain characteristics.
B cells produce antibodies and stimulate other proteins and, in MS, cause damage in the CNS.
MS Risk Calculator
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. If a parent or sibling has MS there is a higher chance of you developing the disease. There is a 2.5 to 5 per cent higher risk.
An identical twin has a 1 in 4 chance of developing MS if the first twin already has multiple sclerosis.
A study carried out in 2011 looked at people who had developed MS. This found that 61% of the individuals surveyed had limited sunlight exposure. The chances increase to 72% if the same people had also been exposed to the Eostein Barr virus.
Some studies have linked childhood obesity, particularly in girls, with an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis later in life. Other studies have also shown that being overweight in early adulthood may also contribute to developing MS.
Furthermore, obesity in MS patients may worsen myelin inflammation and increase MS disease activity.
Other risk factors:
- Gender Women are 2 – 3 times more likely to develop RRMS than men. The likelihood is more 50:50 when it comes to PPMS.
- Age the onset of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis usually occurs between the ages of 20 and 50. PPMS tends to be 10 years later.
Ethnicity puts people from northern Europe at greater risk.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Triggers
Multiple Sclerosis relapses and remits. However, there are a number of situations that can exacerbate your MS and bring on a relapse.
- Stress Activities like Yoga and meditation can help to control your stress levels because stress id one of the worst factors for bring on an exacerbation.
- Smoking is particularly bad for the MSer. The toxins in cigarette smoke will speed the progression of the disease.
- Heat A worsening of symptoms when the core body temperature rises is very common. Uhthoff’s Phenomenon is a related sign.
- Medicines can aggravate your MS. Even the MS-specific medications or DMDs have unfortunate side-effects. But, these DMDs are important to reduce relapse and lesion formation.
- Lack of sleep can be an aggravating factor for a disease characterised by fatigue. Unfortunately, the pain and muscle spasms of MS can make sleeping very difficult.
Infections can cause many of the MS flares. The common cold, influenza and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) activate the immune system, worsening relapses.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes Research History
In the early 20th-century, research was concentrating on the idea that multiple sclerosis was an infection. However, medical science has since dismissed this.
But, current studies now show that an infection could tigger the development of MS.
Finally, it is time to wrap up this post on multiple sclerosis causes, I hope it has been informative.
Multiple Sclerosis Causes NHS
Causes of MS MS Trust
4 Possible Causes of MS Healthline
What Causes MS National Multiple Sclerosis Society
What Causes MS International Federation
Peripheral Nervous System Medscape
Multiple Sclerosis Demyelination Healthline
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