What Causes Multiple Sclerosis?

The exact cause of multiple sclerosis has not been elucidated.

One hypothesis is that when you are young, you can get infected with viruses such as herpes virus and retrovirus, or touch some substance as a switch, and your immune system goes out of control and attacks your nerves. there is.

In addition, it is known that the risk of developing multiple sclerosis increases depending on the environment such as heredity, climate, and smoking.

People with certain genotypes are more likely to develop multiple sclerosis, and even if parents, siblings, or sisters have multiple sclerosis, the risk of developing multiple sclerosis is several times higher. I have been.

In addition, the incidence of multiple sclerosis varies depending on the area where you lived by the age of 15, and people who grew up in the tropics tend to have a lower incidence than those who live in cold regions. It seems that the risk of developing the disease does not change depending on the climate in which you live in adulthood.

It is also said that the reason why the incidence rate of people who grew up in warm areas decreases is that high exposure to sunlight produces a large amount of vitamin D. In fact, a study conducted in the United States reported that examining the blood of patients with multiple sclerosis showed low levels of vitamin D, but how vitamin D causes multiple sclerosis. It is not clear if it will be prevented.

In addition, smoking also increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis. The reason is unknown, but smoking is said to increase the risk of developing the disease by a factor of 1.5.

There are various theories that are thought to be the cause of multiple sclerosis, and many are not known exactly.

Early and late signs of multiple sclerosis

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary depending on the site of nerve damage.

When the nerves that convey sensory information are impaired, sensory abnormalities occur, and when the nerves that move muscles are impaired, motor disorders occur.

In the initial symptoms, nerve damage is often not progressing, so vague symptoms often occur.

  • Numbness, pain, itchiness, decreased tactile sensation, etc. in limbs and face
  • The strength of the limbs is weak, stiff
  • Abnormal eyesight

Damage to the nerves of the eyes can cause not only blurred or blurred vision, but also eye movements and pain.

In late-stage symptoms, nerve damage also progresses, causing painful spasms and contractions of muscles that you cannot control, making it difficult to move as you wish. If it becomes severe, you will not be able to walk using a walker, and you will have to live in a wheelchair.

Since it causes paralysis, not only movement disorders but also excretion such as urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence cannot be controlled, which puts a heavy burden not only on the person but also on the family. Mental support is also important as some people become mentally unstable and develop depressive symptoms.

Onset pattern of multiple sclerosis

In most cases, multiple sclerosis progresses with repeated recurrences and subdued remissions, but there are several patterns of onset.

  • Relapsing-remitting type: The relapsing-remitting type is a pattern in which the period of worsening of symptoms and the period of relief of symptoms alternate, and the period of subsidence lasts from several months to several years.
  • Primary progressive type: In the primary progressive type, symptoms gradually progress without recurrence or remission.
  • Secondary progressive type: Unlike the primary progressive type, recurrence and remission are repeated at first, but after a while, the symptoms gradually progress.
  • Progressive relapse: Symptoms progress gradually, but suddenly worsen.

The progression of multiple sclerosis varies from person to person, with some recurring three or four times a year and others calming down for several years. Treatment is to prevent recurrence as much as possible.

Is there any countermeasure that can be taken from today for multiple sclerosis?

It is said that infections such as colds increase the risk of recurrence, so you need to be more careful than healthy people. Avoid crowds to prevent colds, wash your hands well, have a well-balanced diet, sleep properly, and exercise moderately.

Moderate exercise such as stretching and walking not only prevents muscle weakness, but is also effective in relieving stress. A regular life is important because stress and excessive fatigue can cause recurrence.

In addition, smoking increases the risk of developing multiple sclerosis, so if you are a smoker, you may want to try quitting smoking.

If you have a physical disability, you may be rehabilitated by an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, or speech therapist at your discretion, depending on your symptoms. Rehabilitation may help you to lead a normal daily life, so you should consult your doctor.

You may be treated with medication to prevent recurrence. Precautions differ depending on the treatment, and there are some points to be aware of in daily life, so please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


Multiple Sclerosis (MS)-MSD Manual Home Edition

What kind of illness is MS?-(Germany) National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Institute of Neurology

Causes and Pathologies of Multiple Sclerosis-Jstage

Multiple sclerosis / neuromyelitis optica (designated intractable disease 13)-Intractable disease information center


June 2024