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Multiple sclerosis, its causes and symptoms

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 6 min

What is Multiple sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disorder that affects the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves of the CNS. Although the causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown, the protective sheath (myelin) that surrounds nerve fibres is attacked by the immune system in MS, causing communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body.
When the myelin sheath disappears or is injured in multiple places with multiple sclerosis symptoms, it forms a scar, known as sclerosis. The symptoms primarily have an impact on:
The cerebellum, which coordinates movement and controls balance, the spinal cord, the optic nerves, and white matter in some brain regions.

As more lesions emerge, nerve fibres may break or get damaged. As a result, brain electrical impulses do not reach the target nerve in a seamless manner. These causes of multiple sclerosis indicate that the body is incapable of doing specified duties.

Types of Multiple sclerosis

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)

Inflammation and demyelination in the central nervous system cause CIS, which is the first episode of neurologic symptoms. The event must last at least 24 hours.

Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS)

The most frequent cause of multiple sclerosis type, RRMS, is marked by new or worsening multiple sclerosis symptoms. Relapses or exacerbations are attacks that are followed by periods of partial or total recovery (remissions).

Primary progressive MS (PPMS)

If you have primary progressive MS (PPMS), your neurological function will deteriorate over time as your symptoms worsen. Some persons may have periods of stability as well as periods when their symptoms intensify and then improve. PPMS affects about 15% of patients with MS.

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS)

When RRMS progresses into progressive MS, it is known as secondary progressive MS (SPMS). In addition to an impairment or steady decrease of function, you may still experience multiple sclerosis symptoms such as notable relapses.

Risk factors

These variables could raise your causes of multiple sclerosis

  • Age- Multiple sclerosis symptoms can develop at any age, however, it commonly develops between the ages of 20 and 40. Younger and older persons, however, may be affected.
  • History of the family– You have an increased risk of causes of multiple sclerosis if one of your parents or siblings has had the disease.
  • Several infections– Multiple sclerosis symptoms have been associated with a number of viruses, including Epstein-Barr, the virus that causes infectious mononucleosis.
  • Certain autoimmune illnesses– If you have other autoimmune conditions including thyroid disease, pernicious anaemia, psoriasis, type 1 diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease, you’re at a slightly increased risk of having MS.
  • Smoking- Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to acquire a second event that confirms relapsing-remitting MS after experiencing an initial event of symptoms that may signify MS.

Causes of multiple sclerosis

Experts are still unsure about what causes multiple sclerosis. The study of the disease’s cause is still going on. MS symptoms can be triggered by a number of factors, including:

  • Exposure to certain viruses or bacteria: According to some studies, certain infections (such as the Epstein-Barr virus) can be the cause of multiple sclerosis symptoms later in life.
  • Where do you reside: Your surroundings may influence your chances of developing MS. There are much greater rates of the disease in some places of the world than in others.
  • Functioning of the Immune system: Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune illness. Researchers are trying to figure out why some people’s immune cells attack healthy cells by mistake.
  • Mutations in genes: Having a family member with MS raises your chances of developing the condition. However, it is still unknown how and which genes have a role in the onset of multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis symptoms and complications

One of the early ms symptoms is vision issues, such as optic neuritis (blurriness and pain in one eye). Other common multiple sclerosis symptoms are:

  • Changes in walking style,
  • Fatigue,
  • Loss of coordination or balance,
  • Muscle spasms are a common occurrence,
  • Muscle wasting,
  • You may experience tingling or numbness in your legs or arms.
  • Worsening of multiple sclerosis symptoms may lead to consequences as MS worsens, such as:
  • Walking difficulties that may necessitate the use of a cane, walker, or wheelchair,
  • The inability to control one’s bowels or bladder because of increased ms symptoms,
  • There are issues with memory,
  • Problems with sexuality.


  1. MRI Scan- Your doctor can use an MRI to detect active and inactive lesions this can help in further multiple sclerosis treatment.
  2. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) – A scan of the nerve layers at the back of your eye is obtained to look for thinning around the optic nerve in this test.
  3. Spinal tap (lumbar puncture) – The purpose of this test is to look for multiple sclerosis symptoms in your spinal fluid. This test can aid in diagnosing the causes of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
  4. Blood tests- Blood tests are performed by doctors to rule out the possibility of other illnesses with ms symptoms.
  5. Visual evoked potentials (VEP) test- To assess electrical activity in your brain and to find the causes of multiple sclerosis, this test necessitates the stimulation of neural networks.

Multiple sclerosis treatment

Although there is no cure for Multiple sclerosis symptoms, there are treatments that can help to decrease the causes of multiple sclerosis, minimise the number and severity of relapses, and alleviate ms symptoms.

  1. Disease-modifying therapies (DMTs)- The FDA has approved several drugs for long-term Multiple sclerosis treatment. These medications aid in the prevention of recurrence (also called flare-ups or attacks) and suppress multiple sclerosis symptoms. They help to slow the growth of the disease and reduce ms symptoms.
    Injectable medications for multiple sclerosis treatment
    interferon beta 1-a (Avonex and Rebif)
    interferon beta-1b (Betaseron and Extavia)
    glatiramer acetate: (Copaxone and Glatopa)
    Oral medications
    teriflunomide (Aubagio)
    fingolimod (Gilenya)
    dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera)
    Intravenous medications
    alemtuzumab (Lemtrada)
    natalizumab (Tysabri)
    mitoxantrone (Novantrone)
  2. Relapse prevention medications: Your neurologist may prescribe a high dosage of corticosteroids in case of multiple sclerosis symptoms if you have a severe attack. The drug works swiftly to minimise inflammation.
  1. Physical rehabilitation is important if you have ms symptoms because it might affect your physical function. Maintaining your mobility requires staying physically fit and strong.
  2. Mental counselling for multiple sclerosis treatment: Working with a neuropsychologist or receiving other forms of emotional support is an important aspect of controlling the disease.

Prevention of Multiple sclerosis symptoms

  • Healthy diet to reduce ms symptoms
  • Stress management
  • Smoking cessation and limiting alcohol
  • Performing exercises regularly.

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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