What causes multiple sclerosis?

No one knows the exact causes of multiple sclerosis (MS), but a mixture of genetic and environmental factors are likely to play a role in the development of the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a result of the body's immune system attacking its own myelin — the protective sheath surrounding the central nervous system.

White blood cells (part of our immune system response) move from the bloodstream into the fluid that circulates and nourishes the brain and spinal cord. These cells actively attack and damage the protective covering over the nerves (myelin), resulting in the development of scar tissue/sclerotic patches (or plaques).

Usually our body's immune system defends the body from attack by viruses or bacteria but that is not the case with multiple sclerosis. The breakdown of myelin impairs nerve transmission throughout the body which can manifest in a variety of symptoms.

Living with multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is progressive, often unpredictable and regularly varies in its severity from one person to another, which is why symptoms can vary case to case. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but current treatments are able to alter the course of the disease by reducing the frequency and severity of relapses.

Each person’s journey with multiple sclerosis is different, so it is difficult to compare your journey with others.

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How Can I Find Out More About MS?

If you’d like to find out more about what the causes and symptoms of multiple sclerosis are, we are a comprehensive source of information, advice and support. We have helpful links to external sources such as NDIS application forms, educational resources, as well as referral information. If you have a specific question, reach out to the team and we will do our best to find the answers you need.




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