Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disease. In these types of diseases, the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues.
Some experts believe MS is an autoimmune disease. (The prefix ‘auto’ identifies that the immune system is reacting to an antigen that is created naturally within the body. To date, no specific antigen has been identified as the cause for this immune system attack, which is why some multiple sclerosis-specialists are hesitant to use this label.)
The primary purpose of your immune system is to help fight the foreign invasion of harmful substances or organisms in the body. For example, your immune system is designed to fight off infections that are caused by viruses or bacteria.
Generally, the immune system uses inflammation to protect itself and fight foreign substances in the body. However, with multiple sclerosis, the inflammation produced by the immune system is misdirected against parts of the central nervous system.
The cause of multiple sclerosis is not yet clear. Three factors may cause for variability among people. They are:
- environmental changes