What is MS

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). The central nervous system acts like a switchboard sending electrical messages along the nerves to various parts of the body. These electrical messages instruct the body to perform various tasks, such as movement or thought.

Most healthy fibres are insulated by myelin, a fatty substance which aids the flow of messages. In MS, the myelin breaks down or becomes scarred. This distorts or even blocks the flow of messages, resulting in the many symptoms of MS. 

Many people explain MS like a faulty electrical flex on a kettle. If the insulating flex breaks, it exposes the wires underneath making them more vulnerable to damage.

A diagnosis of MS will bring up lots of questions and concerns; some practical, some more emotional and sensitive. MS Ireland has compiled a list of commonly asked first questions about the disease. While this will give you an insight to what the condition is, you may find the rest of the Living with MS section helpful to understand what living with MS can be like.