14 Common MS Symptoms

Multiple sclerosis, also called MS is considered an autoimmune disease. This is where a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks some bodily system and causes illness. In the case of MS, the sheath that protects the patient's nerve cells is attacked and may be gradually destroyed. The sheaths are made of a substance called myelin, which is made up of fats and proteins. When nerves are protected by their myelin sheath, they can easily send and receive signals from other nerves. These signals allow bodily systems, from the eyes to the muscles to the central nervous system to the digestive tract work the way they should.

People who are at the highest risk for MS are white women between 20 and 40, though it can happen to people who are older or younger. As with many autoimmune diseases, women are more likely to get MS than men. With MS, women are two or three times more likely to get the disorder than men.

Because MS attacks the nerve cells, its symptoms are varied, hard to predict, and even vary in severity, sometimes in the same patient. General symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be vague and nonspecific, which means they could belong to many other disorders. A person with MS symptoms needs diagnostic tests, including a brain MRI, to determine whether they have the disease or something else.