What are brain lesions?
Nerve fibers in your brain and spinal cord are wrapped in a protective membrane known as the myelin sheath. This coating helps increase the speed at which signals travel along your nerves.
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), overactive immune cells in your body trigger inflammation that damages myelin. When that happens, damaged areas known as plaques or lesions form on the brain or spinal cord.
Carefully managing and monitoring the condition can help you and your doctor understand if it’s progressing. In turn, sticking with an effective treatment plan may limit or slow the development of lesions.
When lesions develop on your brain or spinal cord, they can disrupt the movement of signals along your nerves. This can cause a variety of symptoms.
For example, lesions may cause:
- vision problems
- muscle weakness, stiffness, and spasms
- numbness or tingling in your face, trunk, arms, or legs
- loss of coordination and balance
- trouble controlling your bladder
- persistent dizziness
Over time, MS can cause new lesions to form. Existing lesions may also grow larger, which might cause a relapse or an acute flare-up of symptoms. This happens when your symptoms get worse or new symptoms develop.
It’s also possible to develop lesions without noticeable symptoms. Only 1 in 10 lesions. Trusted Source causes outward effects according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
To help slow the progression of MS, many treatments are available. Early diagnosis and treatment might help prevent the development of new lesions.
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