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MS Shares Key Trait With Other Autoimmune Diseases: Inflammation

US NEWS

By Robin Westen
October 16, 2017
 

The cause of multiple sclerosis is still open to debate, but overwhelmingly medical experts agree it’s an autoimmune disease. That means the body doesn’t distinguish between healthy cells and foreign invaders. So, in order to protect itself, the body's own immune system kicks into overdrive. Just imagine an army that can’t tell the difference between allies and enemies – and you’ll get the picture.

In multiple sclerosis, when the immune system overreacts, it attacks and damages the myelin sheath (protective coating) wrapped around nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The result? Havoc reigns in other areas of the body. “MS can cause a wide range of problems from spasticity, imbalance and trembling, to visual difficulties, brain fog and extreme fatigue, among other symptoms,” explains Dr. Philip De Jager, director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “Although the symptoms may be different from other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, MS shares one thing in common with all of them – inflammation." [read more]