Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological condition among young adults in the UK. It is possible for MS to occur at any age, but is mainly first seen between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are almost twice as likely to develop MS as men.
MS is a condition of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which controls the body's actions and activities, such as movement and balance. Each nerve fibre in the central nervous system is surrounded by a substance called myelin, which helps the messages from the brain travel quickly and smoothly to the rest of the body. In MS, the myelin becomes damaged, disrupting the transfer of these messages.
The symptoms of MS are numerous and unpredictable, and they affect each person differently. Some of the most common symptoms include problems with mobility and balance, pain, muscle spasms and muscle tightness.
The exact cause of MS is not fully understood, although there is some evidence to suggest that it is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is no cure for MS, research is continuing into the condition and its causes and there are many treatments which aim to improve the symptoms and make them easier to live with. Treatments include medication and physiotherapy.
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