Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the myelin sheath, or the protective protein coat around nerve fibers. This results in inflammation, which further damages the myelin sheath as well as the nerve cells themselves, and the cells that produce myelin.
The immune system attack on myelin causes a disruption in electric signals traveling along the nerve fibers from the brain to the body and back. As a result, patients with MS experience many symptoms, including fatigue, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms, walking difficulties, pain, and bowel or bladder problems. Many patients also experience emotional changes, including depression, anxiety, and mood swings.