Despite being relatively well-known, there is often some doubt surrounding the causes of multiple sclerosis. According to the National MS Society, there are various factors which could contribute to someone developing MS.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease that can affect the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. The effects vary from person to person, from mild symptoms that require little treatment and allow the patient to lead a reasonably normal life, to more severe symptoms requiring more care.
But what exactly causes multiple sclerosis?
The cause can sometimes be immunological. MS is caused when the body’s immune system attacks something called myelin, a protective material found on the outside of nerve fibres. The damage MS causes to this material damages the nerve fibres, meaning your brain cannot send signals through your body the way it wants to.
Some specialists believe it’s the environment. Statistical evidence suggests that there are a higher number of MS cases in countries further away from the equator. Such studies also suggest that if a person born in a high-risk area moves to a lower risk area before the age of 15, that they assume the risk of the new area. This could be related to vitamin D intake. Countries closer to the equator typically have more hours of sunlight, meaning that the inhabitants of these areas naturally produce more vitamin D, which helps to support and protect the immune system against immune disease such as MS.
Smoking is also thought to increase the risk of developing MS, and exacerbates the severity and the progression of the disease.
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