Sclerosis is a medical term used to describe the hardening or stiffening of tissue, especially in the body’s organs or structures. Sclerosis can occur in a number of different forms, each with its own specific causes and symptoms.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system (CNS), including the brain and spinal cord. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective covering (myelin) of nerve fibers in the CNS, leading to a wide range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, difficulty with coordination and balance, vision problems, and cognitive impairment.
Other forms of sclerosis include:
- Liver sclerosis, which is the hardening of liver tissue and can lead to liver failure
- Renal sclerosis, which is the hardening of the kidney tissue and can lead to kidney failure
- Scleroderma, a group of autoimmune disorders that cause the skin and connective tissues to harden and tighten.
Treatment for sclerosis depends on the type and severity of the condition, but may include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. In some cases, surgery may be necessary.