What is Multiple Sclerosis? An Overview of Symptoms & Causes

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a typically-progressive and chronic disease affecting the central nervous center caused by a malfunctioning immune system. The immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the myelin sheath of nerve cells which serves as a protective covering and assists in the transmission of signals. MS effectively slows or blocks signal transmission, eventually causing permanent damage or deterioration of the nerve cells. 

Multiple sclerosis is a relatively common disease. It is generally estimated that MS affects nearly one million people in the U.S. alone. However, because symptoms can become active and dormant for indeterminate periods, determining exact numbers is challenging. Unfortunately, regardless of its frequency, there is much that is not known and debated about MS, including definitive causes, all types and severity levels of symptoms, and cures. 

MS is a chronic and debilitating disease, so those with the disease can usually qualify for disability compensation. If you or a loved one are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and your disability claim was denied or cut off, call the Merion Station area long-term disability lawyers at Rosen Moss Snyder LLP to fight that decision! 

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis 

Symptoms of MS are many and varied, and they can crop up and disappear, on and off, for several years or throughout an entire lifetime. Here is a list of common symptoms (which is, by no means, comprehensive): 

  • Double Vision/Blindness 
  • Muscle Coordination & Balance Issues
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Painful Muscle Contractions
  • Pregnancy Complications 
  • Chronic Fatigue 
  • Slurred Speech
  • Dizziness/Vertigo

These symptoms – among many others – can be partially- or fully-debilitating. Sadly, there is no official treatment or cure for MS or its symptoms. Doctors can prescribe corticosteroids and interferon beta blockers for inflammation control, immune system suppression, and disease progression deceleration.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

As we have mentioned before, MS has no known causes, but extensive studies have determined that there are a few genetic and environmental factors that could possibly contribute to its development. Here are a few possibilities:


  • Low Levels of Vitamin D
    Vitamin D deficiencies seem to contribute to MS development. Areas further away from the equator (and with less natural sun exposure) appear to have larger concentrations of people with MS, than in areas closer to the equator. Vitamin D is thought to provide immune function support and decrease the risk of MS and similar diseases.


  • Obesity
    Many studies have exhibited a correlation between obesity throughout adolescence and adulthood and the development of multiple sclerosis. Additionally, obesity after diagnosis can contribute to inflammation, increasing the risk of symptoms and the symptoms’ severity.


  • Smoking
    In general, avoiding smoking is a healthy life decision. And there is a growing evidence that smoking can increase both the risk of MS development and the severity and progression of said disease. Stopping smoking seems to slow the progression of the disease.


  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) Contraction
    A long list of viruses and bacteria, including EBV, measles, Chlamydia pneumonia, and human herpesvirus-6, have been studied for their possible involvement in MS development. Of all the infection possibilities, previous infection with EBV seems to contribute to the risk of developing MS.


  • Genetics
    Although it is not an inherited disease, there may be a genetic risk, especially in twins and first-degree relatives. There are over 200 genes that seem to contribute in small ways to the overall risk of MS.

At Rosen Moss Snyder LLP, the long-term disability lawyers in Wilmington, DE, they are experts in obtaining disability benefits for clients with many different disabilities and diseases, including multiple sclerosis. If you or a family member suffer from MS and have been denied long- or short-term disability, call us today for a complimentary consultation! 

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