Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord. It affects women more than men and is most commonly diagnosed between ages 20 and 40, but can be seen at any age.
MS is caused by damage to the myelin sheath, the protective covering that surrounds nerve cells. When this nerve covering is damaged, nerve impulses are slowed down or stopped.
Researchers are not sure what triggers the inflammation. The most common theories point to a virus or genetic defect, or a combination of both. Recently, however, venous insufficiency has been implicated as a cause of MS.
Venous insufficiency refers to the backflow of blood within veins due to faulty valves. In people with varicose veins, the leg veins are affected. But, in patients with MS, the cerebral veins may be insufficient. Impaired venous drainage from the central nervous system is termed chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. There are some studies that implicate chronic venous insufficiency of the cerebral veins as a cause for MS. But, there have been recent studies which refute this. At this point, it is an area of investigation, but further studies are required.