Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve).
MS is a chronic disease, which means it's a disease that a person has for a long time. With MS, the body's own immune cells attack the layer of tissue (called myelin) that surrounds and protects the nerves. Scars then develop that slow down or block the signals that travel between the brain and the body.
Symptoms come and go in episodes or attacks and vary depending on what nerves are affected. They can include vision problems, fatigue or weakness, difficulty with balance or coordination, and slurred speech. They can last for just a couple of days or several months. MS also can become increasingly debilitating with no periods of remission.
MS can be diagnosed at any age, but most people learn of their disease between the ages of 20-40. It is rare in kids.
There is no known cure for multiple sclerosis, but medications can help control symptoms, reduce the number of relapses, and slow down the progression of the disease.
People with MS can help manage their symptoms with physical and occupational therapy. Eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly also contribute to overall health and well-being for people living with MS.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|The National Multiple Sclerosis Society This national non-profit group works to promote research on multiple sclerosis, and provide support and information for those who are living with the disease.|
|Word! Occupational Therapy Do you know what your occupation is?|
|Occupational Therapy Occupational therapy can help improve kids' cognitive, physical, and motor skills and enhance their self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.|
|Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) makes it difficult for a child to move around, walk, or breathe. Although there is no cure, therapy and other treatments help improve a child's skills.|
|Physical Therapy Doctors often recommend physical therapy for kids who have been injured or have movement problems from an illness, disease, or disability. Learn more about PT.|
|Physical Therapy Physical therapy helps people get back to full strength and movement - and manage pain - in key parts of the body after an illness or injury.|
|Wheelchairs Wheelchairs are a way for some people to be independent, despite illnesses or injuries. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis is a problem a person can have with the nervous system. MS mostly affects adults. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Going to an Occupational Therapist Occupational therapy helps children overcome obstacles to be as independent as possible. Learn more about OT.|
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