What is multiple sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that impacts the central nervous system including the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the protective covering of the nerves, which can have lasting impacts such as inflammation and/or nerve damage. MS is considered unpredictable and can impact a person at any age, but is most often diagnosed with young adults between theages of 20 and 49. The causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown, however, contributing factors may include environment, genetics, lifestyle and biological factors. There are many ways to support the effects of MS including therapies, exercise programs, and medicinal treatments.
Symptoms & common characteristics
- Difficulty walking
- Sensory impairment – numbness, tingling
- Paroxysmal symptoms
- Optic neuritis - sudden onset of visual blurring or loss of vision in one eye
- Cognitive impairment
Centre for Accessibility support for multiple sclerosis (MS) may include
- Assistive technology
- Note-taking services
- Preferential seating in class
- Alternate format materials (texts in PDF/E-text)
- Time accommodation for exams
- Separate setting/distraction reduced setting for exams
- Canada has one of the highest rates of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, with an estimated 1 in every 385 Canadians living with the disease.
- MS is much more common in females than males, happening about 3 times more in women than in men. This is also true for other autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis.
- We know that MS is more common among people in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and sections of Australia and less common among people in Asia and the tropics. Within regions with temperate climates, cases of MS increase in incidence and prevalence farther from the equator (or in higher latitudes).
- Symptoms vary a great deal from one person to another. No two people have the same combination of symptoms. This, of course, complicates identification and diagnosis.