March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease of the central nervous system that can cause symptoms throughout the body. It's believed to be an autoimmune condition, in which the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues — in MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that normally protects nerve fibers in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. As the myelin sheath is gradually destroyed, the resulting scar tissue (sclerosis) disrupts the electrical impulses between the brain and other parts of the body.
Orange is the official color for MS awareness, and the butterfly represents the shape commonly seen on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of a brain of a person with MS.
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, raising awareness and educating yourself and others is a critical part of living well with multiple sclerosis.
When are people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis?
Anyone can be diagnosed with MS at any time. However, most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40.
Who gets diagnosed with MS?
Women outnumber men by a 2 to 1 ratio in being diagnosed with MS. In the United States, more than 400,000 women and men live with multiple sclerosis, and there are about 200 newly diagnosed people with MS each week. There are thought to be more than 2.5 million people living with MS worldwide.