Subscribe to illnesses and disabilities email updates.
Multiple sclerosis (sklur-OH-suhss) (MS) is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. With MS, the immune system is believed to attack the protective coating, called myelin, around the nerves. The damage affects the brain and spinal cord. This can cause:
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble with coordination or balance
- Numbness and a tingling feeling in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
- Vision problems
- Speech problems
Doctors use many tools and lab tests to find out if you have MS. If you have MS, your symptoms will most likely come and go. So getting the right diagnosis can sometimes take years.
Most people with MS are mildly affected. But MS can be debilitating in others. Some people with MS lose the ability to write, speak, or walk. MS can make it hard to concentrate or remember. Many people with MS also have depression.
There is no cure for MS. But many of the symptoms can be treated with medicines and physical therapy.
Explore other publications and websites
About Multiple Sclerosis (Copyright © The National MS Society) — Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. This brochure provides an overview of multiple sclerosis (MS), including its symptoms, diagnosis, and possible treatment options.
Atlas of MS Database (Copyright © Multiple Sclerosis International Federation) — This database describes the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis (MS). It also looks at the accessibility of resources to diagnose, inform, treat, support, manage, and rehabilitate people with MS worldwide. The data can be analyzed and compared at country, regional, and global levels. The contents of the database are searchable and include maps, charts, or spreadsheets.
Employees With Multiple Sclerosis (Copyright © Job Accommodation Network) — This publication for employers provides basic information on multiple sclerosis (MS) and suggests workplace accommodations that might help a person with MS. It also provides a list of resources for further information.
Healthy Living With MS (Copyright © National Multiple Sclerosis Society) — Exercise, nutrition, and stress management are all parts of living a healthy life with multiple sclerosis. This page has information about taking charge of your health in these areas and more.
Living With MS (Copyright © National Multiple Sclerosis Society) — This website provides information for those newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and those living with advanced MS. There is information about how to stay healthy mentally and physically in all aspects of your life.
Multiple Sclerosis — This publication discusses the history of research on multiple sclerosis, where research currently stands, and what research needs to be done in the future.
Multiple Sclerosis (Copyright © New York Online Access to Health) — this web page provides links to detailed information on the causes and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, as well as potential complications, various treatment options, and numerous links to publications focusing on ways multiple sclerosis (MS) can affect everyday living.
Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research — this web page provides answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about multiple sclerosis (MS). It discusses topics such as the causes and symptoms of MS, the research currently being conducted, and the treatment options available.
NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page — This online fact sheet explains multiple sclerosis (MS) and provides information on treatments and prognosis. This publication also provides a list of related organizations for additional information.
Staying in the Game: MS and Employment (Copyright © National Multiple Sclerosis Society) — People with multiple sclerosis (MS) often continue to work long after they receive their diagnosis. But some factors can make working more difficult. This site offers advice about disclosing your condition to employers, understanding your rights, and making decisions about your employment.
Connect with other organizations
American Academy of Neurology
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.
Multiple Sclerosis Association of America
Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Inc
Multiple Sclerosis International Federation
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, HHS
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Content last updated September 22, 2009.
Resources last updated September 22, 2009.
A federal government website managed by the Office on Women's Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
200 Independence Avenue, S.W. • Washington, DC 20201