New here? Register | Already registered? Sign in Search
     Print     Text Size   A  A  A 

What is MS ?

Actively managing your multiple sclerosis starts with having the right information. Once you understand more about what causes MS as well as the symptoms of MS and how they can affect your body, you may feel more prepared to take the next steps.

Not only does MS affect everyone differently, but there are actually different types of MS.

How you deal with an MS diagnosis varies from person to person, too — there's no right or wrong way to respond to the information you're learning. But with a strong support network, good information and the right treatment plan for you, you'll be able to take control of your MS and start living with confidence.

This short video helps illustrate the science behind MS.

Learn More About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. In MS, the body's white blood cells attack tissue called myelin.

Myelin forms a sheath that is the protective covering for nerve fibers in the brain and the spinal cord. Much like the insulation around an electric wire, myelin sheaths cover nerve fibers as they transmit impulses within the nervous system.


When a myelin sheath is worn down or destroyed, the process is called demyelination. Demyelination causes the nerve fiber to be exposed. The exposed nerve fiber is less able to transmit nerve impulses. As a result, messages between different parts of the nervous system and the body are not transmitted as effectively.

After the myelin is destroyed, scar tissue called sclerosis is left behind in the damaged areas, which are referred to as lesions or plaques.


Join MS ActiveSource.

Register for benefits, including:

  • Free MS Fitness or Yoga DVD
  • One-on-one
    peer mentors
  • Your own personal
  • Monthly e-newsletter

or Sign In
Ongoing support
means you're
not alone.

Now you can connect with free
support and resources for living
with MS, including:

  • Personalized Patient
  • Peer Mentor
  • MS Events
Live well. Stay active.

Get tips on:

  • Exercise
  • Healthy eating
    and recipes
  • Free MS Fitness
    or Yoga DVD

Call an ActiveSource Coordinator at 1-800-456-2255
Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM ET