How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System – Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., MSN — By Colleen M. Story — Updated June 23, 2023

Multiple sclerosis (MS) causes white blood cells to attack your neurons (nerve cells). The resulting damage and scar tissue on your neurons can reduce communication between your brain and body.

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

If you or a loved one has multiple sclerosis (MS), you already know about the symptoms. They can include muscle weakness, coordination and balance problems, vision problems, thinking and memory issues, and sensations such as numbness, tingling, or “pins and needles.”

Multiple Sclerosis Treatments

What you may not know is how this autoimmune disease actually affects the body. How do you interfere with the messaging system that helps your brain control your actions?

Nerve damage can occur anywhere in the spinal cord and/or brain, which is why the symptoms of MS can vary from person to person. Depending on the location and severity of the white blood cell attack, symptoms may include:

MS attacks the tissues in the brain and spinal cord, known as the central nervous system (CNS). This system includes the complex network of nerve cells responsible for sending, receiving and interpreting information from all parts of the body.

During everyday life, the spinal cord sends information to the brain through these nerve cells. The brain then interprets the information and controls how it reacts to it. You can think of the brain as the central computer and the spinal cord as a cable between the brain and the rest of the body.

Md Vs. Ms: Muscular Dystrophy And Multiple Sclerosis

Nerve cells (neurons) carry messages from one part of the body to another through electrical and chemical impulses. Each has a cell body, dendrites, and an axon. Dendrites are thin web-like structures that extend from the cell body. They act like receptors, receiving signals from other nerve cells and transmitting them to the cell body.

The axon, also called a nerve fiber, is a tail-like projection that serves the opposite function of dendrites: it sends electrical impulses to other nerve cells.

A fatty material known as myelin covers the axon of the nerve cell. This covering protects and insulates the axon much like the rubber covering protects and insulates an electrical cord.

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

Myelin is made of lipids (fatty substances) and proteins. In addition to protecting the axon, it also helps nerve signals travel quickly from one part of the body to another, or to the brain. MS attacks myelin, breaking it down and interrupting nerve signals.

The Immune System And Multiple Sclerosis (ms)

Scientists believe that MS starts with inflammation. Infection-fighting white blood cells that are caused by some unknown force enter the CNS and attack nerve cells.

Scientists speculate that a hidden virus, when activated, can cause inflammation. A genetic trigger or damage to the immune system can also be to blame. Whatever the spark, the white blood cells go on the offensive.

When inflammation increases, MS is activated. The white blood cell attack damages the myelin that protects the nerve fiber (axon). Imagine a damaged electrical cord with visible wires, and you will have a picture of what nerve fibers look like without myelin. This process is called demyelination.

Just like a damaged electrical cord can short out or create intermittent surges of energy, a damaged nerve fiber is less efficient at transmitting nerve impulses. This can cause the symptoms of MS.

Thinking Outside The Box: Non Canonical Targets In Multiple Sclerosis

If you get a cut on your arm, the body will form a scab over time as the cut heals. Nerve fibers also form scar tissue in areas of myelin damage. This tissue is hard, stiff, and blocks or disrupts the flow of messages between nerves and muscles.

These areas of damage are typically called plaques or lesions and are a key sign of the presence of MS. In fact, the words “multiple sclerosis” mean “multiple scars.”

During a period of inflammation, the white blood cell attack can also kill the glial cells. Glial cells surround nerve cells and provide support and insulation between them. They keep nerve cells healthy and produce new myelin when it is damaged.

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

However, if glial cells are killed, they are less able to cope with repair. Some of the new research for MS treatment is focused on transporting new glial cells to the site of myelin damage to help encourage reconstruction.

Definition Of Ms

An MS episode or period of inflammatory activity can last anywhere from a few days to several months. In relapsing/remitting types of MS, the person usually experiences “remission” without symptoms. During this time, the nerves will try to repair themselves and may form new pathways to surround the damaged nerve cells. Remission can last from months to years.

However, progressive forms of MS do not show as much inflammation and may not show any remission of symptoms, or at best will only plateau and then continue to cause damage.

There is no known cure for MS. However, current therapies can slow the disease and help control symptoms.

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Disease Modifying Therapy For Multiple Sclerosis: Nursing Pharmacology

Our experts constantly monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available. they had misconceptions, including the impact of exercise on MS.

Let’s start by reviewing what MS is. Simply stated, it is a progressive neurological disorder in which myelin, a fatty tissue that surrounds nerves in the brain and spinal cord, is degraded. This results in the production of scar tissue (sclerosis). Myelin is essential in the transmission of impulses along the nerves, so the lack of this tissue reduces and disrupts communication between the brain and the body and causes difficulties with contraction, movement and muscle cognition. 3, 4, 6, 7 Approximately 55,000 to 75,000 Canadians and more than 2 million individuals worldwide are affected by MS. 1

What many of us do not realize is that although MS can be fatal, many individuals with MS lead normal lives.4 Another common myth associated with MS is that it leaves individuals immobile. 4 There is no doubt that MS reduces an individual’s mobility, however, if caught early and managed with appropriate treatment, individuals with MS can maintain mobility and delay or avoid the need to use wheelchairs or other assistive devices.4 MS can be classified as mild. , moderate or severe, based on a disability scale from 0-6 known as the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale.3 Scores of 0 indicate normal function, 1 indicates MS symptoms without disability, and finally scores of 2-6 indicate increasing levels of impairment. 3

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

Most of us have difficulties motivating ourselves to go to the gym and be active, myself included. We may lack motivation, feel tired and simply do not have the energy to go for that run. This inactivity can accelerate the development of secondary health conditions such as: 5, 6

Multiple Sclerosis (ms)

Imagine how the 89.6% of individuals with MS who suffer from excessive fatigue felt when medical professionals told them they should exercise more.

Contrary to what we might think, studies have shown that exercise can actually reduce generalized fatigue in individuals with MS.2, 3, 5, 6 Individuals with MS who exercised at least twice in a week for a minimum of 30 minutes saw an improvement in their level. quality of life and reduction in levels of fatigue and depression.4

Keeping the body active is a great strategy to maintain mobility and muscle function, but also to avoid secondary complications associated with sedentary behavior. For many people, regular exercise leads to increased muscle strength, endurance, and improved cardiorespiratory fitness, the same is true for individuals with MS. develop secondary health conditions that complicate MS symptoms.

Temperature is a major consideration in individuals with MS as approximately 80% of individuals diagnosed with MS will experience general sensitivity to heat.3 Exercising in hot environments and elevation of temperatures of the core of the body too has been shown to increase the fatigue of the individual, and reduce the workloads of the exercise that can be achieved before the onset of fatigue induced by the exercise. This is because the increase in body temperature further reduces the conduction of impulses in the damaged nerves.6

Ayurvedic Treatment For Multiple Sclerosis

Cooling the body, however, produces a reduction in symptoms associated with MS (white). 6 In view of this, it is advisable that patients with MS:

– Engage in pool exercise at a water temperature of 27-29 degrees Celsius. Water is a fantastic medium to allow heat dissipation and can also be used to cool the body before performing workouts on land. 6

Poor transmission of nerve impulses can cause severe muscle weakness in individuals with MS. Weak musculature can result in poor balance and muscle coordination issues that increase the risk of falls and even fractures. In fact the risk of fracture is 2 to 3.4 times greater in individuals with MS. 6

How Does Multiple Sclerosis Affect The Nervous System

For this reason, it is recommended that individuals with MS do cardiovascular exercise on a cycle ergometer or in a pool where the risk of falling is minimized. 6

Multiple Sclerosis: A Coordinated Immunological Attack Against Myelin In The Central Nervous System: Cell

Exercising in water should

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