multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition that causes damage to the substance that covers nerve cells. This interrupts normal communication between nerves, leading to problems with movement, speech, and other functions. We don’t know what causes multiple sclerosis disease but we think it is an autoimmune disease.
What is an autoimmune disease?
Autoimmune diseases develop when a person’s immune system goes after its own tissues and organs. Autoimmune disease can affect all parts of the body. For example:
- Type 1 diabetes. This is the type that usually affects kids and develops when abnormal antibodies attack certain cells in the pancreas, leaving it unable to produce enough insulin, so the body can’t regulate blood sugar properly
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Multiple joints and other organs become inflamed; the cause is unknown, but the presence of autoantibodies (antibodies directed against proteins in healthy tissues) and other abnormal immune function suggest it is an autoimmune disorder.
- Pernicious anemia. In this condition, anemia develops when the immune system produces antibodies that prevent absorption of vitamin B12 from food.