Shrinkage and MS: Is MS to Blame for this?
What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that primarily affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). Multiple sclerosis is caused by the degradation and loss of myelin. This degradation and loss is cause for areas of scarring that efficiently slow or block signal transmission within the central nervous system leading to problems with sensation, vision, strength and muscle coordination.
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is associated with a variety of signs and symptoms. These signs and symptoms will vary greatly due to the location of the specific nerve fibers that are affected. The common symptoms of multiple sclerosis are listed below. However, multiple sclerosis can also lead to the development of other symptoms including mental changes, concentration difficulties, paralysis, bladder problems, slurred speech, and loss of muscle spasticity creating stiffness.
- Blurring of vision
- Double vision
- Lack of coordination
- Limb numbness
- Limb weakness
- Loss of vision (partial or complete)
Causes of Multiple Sclerosis
As multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition, the causes are poorly understood. It is thought that the development of multiple sclerosis is highly dependent upon genetic factors, with environmental factors playing a secondary role. Multiple sclerosis is a condition associated with the destruction of a particular substance known as myelin. Myelin is important to the central nervous system. The central nervous system is composed of millions of nerve cells. These nerve cells are responsible for sending signals throughout the body along nerve fibers. These nerve fibers are covered by a protective fatty layer that is myelin. When the body mistakenly attacks myelin, inflammation and swelling occur, removing the myelin from the nerve fiber. The body covers the area missing myelin with scar tissue. The presence of scar tissue can serve to inhibit or prevent nerve impulses from traveling to its destined location.
Multiple Sclerosis: How Common?
Multiple sclerosis affects approximately 300,000 residents of the United States, with a total world wide affection rate of over one million. The first signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis are primarily detected between the ages of 20-40.
Multiple Sclerosis: Risk Factors
There are three major risk factors associated with multiple sclerosis.
- Environmental Factors: The most common environmental factor associated with the development of MS is viral infections. It has been suggested that certain viral infections are responsible for activating genetic factors that leads to the development of MS.
- Genetic Factors (Heredity): Heredity is thought to be the major reason for the development of MS. Multiple sclerosis is more common with individuals that are of Northern European descent.
- Geographical Factors: While the reasons remain unknown, MS is more commonly diagnosed in temperate regions (Southern Canada, Northern United States, and Europe).
Multiple Sclerosis and Shrinkage Dysfunction
Multiple sclerosis is one condition that is commonly associated with the development of shrinkage or erectile dysfunction as a secondary condition. The exact connections are not well understood, but there exist major associations between the conditions. Contact your physician for more details about shrinkage dysfunction and multiple sclerosis connections.