The Multiple Sclerosis Society
What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition which affects around 100,000 people in the UK.
Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can affect younger and older people too.
Almost twice as many women have MS than men.
A substance called myelin protects the nerve fibres in the central nervous system.
In MS, your immune system, which normally helps to fight off infections, mistakes myelin for a foreign body and attacks it.
This damages the myelin and strips it off the nerve fibres, either partially or completely, leaving scars known as lesions or plaques.
Signs and symptoms
MS is complex, and has many symptoms.
Most people won't experience them all, certainly not at the same time.
Symptoms might include fatigue, vision problems and difficulties with walking, but MS is different for everyone.
No one knows the exact cause of MS, but a mixture of genetic and environmental factors play a role.
It's likely that a combination of genes make some people more susceptible to developing MS, but genes are only part of the story.
MS is complex and can cause many different symptoms, so it's not easy to diagnose.
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when MS begins, and the early signs and symptoms are different for everyone.
There are lots of options for treating and managing MS.
They include drug treatments, exercise and physiotherapy, diet and alternative therapies.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society ..
* 38,000 members
* 9000 volunteers
* 350 staff
One aim: to beat MSM
The MS Society is the UK's leading MS charity. Since 1953, we've been providing information and support, funding research and fighting for change.
We're a democratic organisation: one member, one vote.
We fund research, give grants, campaign for change, provide information and support, invest in MS specialists and lend a listening ear to those who need it.
The MS Society is a democratic organisation. Every one of our 38,000 members has an equal say in what we do.
Our branches provide support and information for people who need it.