How MS may affect the body

Find out how the immune system attacks the body and causes MS
Radiologist Looking at MRI

Success

This has been added to your Favorites

Doctor Reading Report

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease that is believed by some to be an autoimmune disease. In a healthy body, the immune system sends white blood cells to fight invaders, such as bacteria. An autoimmune disease is when the immune system attacks the healthy cells of your body.

In MS, the immune system attacks the nervous system. Over time, the immune system wears down the protective cover on the nerves, called myelin. This damage is called demyelination or sclerosis. In fact, the term multiple sclerosis means “many scars.”

This damage to myelin can also lead to damage of the underlying nerves, all of which can affect how the nervous system functions. You depend on your nerves to feel, see, move, and think. And this damage may cause changes in every one of these functions. That’s why people living with MS may experience pain, fatigue, or changes in mood.

Over time, these symptoms can affect other aspects of your life. This is why it's important to discuss treatment options sooner rather than later, stay on your prescribed therapy, and keep your healthcare provider informed if you experience any side effects.

EXPLORE OTHER TOPICS

Home & Travel

10 tips for traveling with MS

From Paul P.

Daily life with MS

4 ways to help avoid holiday stress

From Gina F.

Mental & emotional health

Maintaining mindfulness at work

From Biogen

LIVE MS EVENTS

Learn about MS and connect with others. Find MS events in your area.

From Biogen

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

MS Education

MS among African Americans

From Dr. Williams

MS Education

Clinical trials 101

From Biogen

ABY MS APP

Download Biogen's app to
support your MS journey

From Biogen

MS Education

Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS)

From Biogen

MS Education

Watch this webinar to learn from MS expert Dr. Weigel

From Biogen

MS Education

The immune system & MS

From Biogen

MS EDUCATION

Monitoring disease activity

From Biogen

MS Education

Pregnancy & MS

From Jessica T.

MS Education

Science behind making an MS drug

From Dr. Mi

MS Education

Types of MS

From Biogen

MS Education

Understanding relapsing MS

From Biogen

MS Education

Understanding lesions

From Biogen

MS EDUCATION

Who gets MS?

From Biogen