Multiple sclerosis often referred to as MS, is quite common in this part of the world. In fact, according to statistics from AtlasOfMS.org, North America has the highest prevalence of neurological/autoimmune disease in the world, with more than 200 cases per 100,000 people.
The U.S. has more than 913,000 cases of MS, while Canada has upward of 90,000. Worldwide, more than 2.8-million people are living with the disease, which the source also shows has a particularly high prevalence in Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Italy. Let’s look at what MS is, what it means for patients and the current outlook.
What Is MS?
According to Healthline, MS is both a neurological and autoimmune disease. That means while the chronic disease affects the nerves (and related functioning), the patient’s own immune system is attacking healthy cells.
There is a protective coating over nerves called myelin, which is what the malfunctioning immune system strips away, notes the source. This can cause varying symptoms and severity, which we’ll explain next.