Per the National Multiple Sclerosis Society web site (www.nationalmssociety.org) at a high-level MS is defined as: "an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within in the brain, and between the brain and the body." It is obviously more technical than that, but it gives you the basic principle. If your brain gets misinformation, it can have serious implications on how your body performs.
MS is also very hard to diagnosis. My sister Linda, found out back in 1993 that she had MS. There is no way to really know how long she had MS prior to the diagnosis. There was no real support for my sister in 1993, mostly because of where she lived. To help her out Theresa and I attended many MS support group meetings near us.
This was helpful, as we could get information for Linda, and it helped us get a little insight of what she would be facing. Many of the symptoms are ones a lot of us experience from time to time, even though we don't have MS. Things like tripping for no reason, dropping something, fatigue, tingling in hands and feet to name a few. On top of this, in the early days of the disease, the symptoms can go away as quickly as they commence. I have to tell you, after the first couple of meeting we attended, I was concerned that I may have MS due to the symptoms.
MS is also a very personal disease, in that it affects everyone differently. Some find themselves in wheel chairs very quickly, others never in up in a wheel chair, and some never know they have MS. Is is only found out ofter an autopsy. For my sister, MS has slowly affected many of her motor skills leading to many falls, temporary loss of vision, and the inability to handle extreme temperatures to name a few.
Linda is entering the later stages of the disease - called "Progressive". In the past when her MS flared up, most if not all of her motor skills would return. At this point, her relapses tend to be further apart, but little of what she losses returns.
This is currently incurable, but a lot of progress is being made on many fronts. Because of that, it is imperative that research continues. Any donation you can make will help keep the momentum towards a cure going!!