Multiple Sclerosis: Risk Factors and Pathophysiology

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disabling neurological condition that considerably diminishes life quality and expectation. This inflammatory disease concerns the central neural system, and its signs largely depend on the extent to which the brain and spinal cord have been affected. Thus, MS’s clinical manifestations tend to vary significantly – some patients can lose their ability to move independently, while others can experience incontinence (Thompson et al., 2018). The condition constitutes a grave public health problem, impacting a considerable percentage of the country’s population.

MS risk factors are numerous, and a unified vision (apropos of climate’s role, for instance) is seemingly not reached. Among the factors are race, age, genetics, sex, and vitamin D levels (Munger and Ascherio, 2016). Climate also can increase the chances of developing MS – people living in Asia, tropics, and subtropics may be less likely to be diagnosed with the condition than citizens of the United States, for example (Thompson et al., 2018). It is explained by how MS is generally more spread in both directions from the equator. Other risk factors include lesions and cardiovascular conditions, such as continuous migraine (Munger and Ascherio, 2016). Regarding the condition’s pathophysiology, the prominent atrophy of central neural is ascribed to ongoing axonal loss and inability of glia to maintain homeostasis combined with the production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (Faissner et al., 2019). Thus, in MS, normal physiology is changed by inflammation of the central neural system caused by immune cells.

The understanding of MS gradually evolved and encompassed the influence of place of living on its progression. The view of how the condition’s pathophysiology provokes specific complications has also deepened. Some patients experience bladder- and bowel- related issues as the disease affects the capacity to send signals to correspondent tracts and systems. Hence, depending on atrophy’s degree and area, the disease’s manifestations can differ from patient to patient.

Reference List

Faissner, S. et al. (2019) ‘Progressive multiple sclerosis: from pathophysiology to therapeutic strategies’, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, pp. 1–18.

Munger, K. and Ascherio, A. (2016) ‘Epidemiology of multiple sclerosis: from risk factors to prevention – an update’, Seminars in Neurology, 36(02), pp. 103–114.

Thompson, A. J. et al. (2018) ‘Diagnosis of multiple sclerosis: 2017 revisions of the McDonald criteria’, The Lancet Neurology, 17(2), pp. 162–173.

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