Around 2,500 people in Cyprus suffer from multiple sclerosis, the nurses association (Pasymn) said on Tuesday ahead of World MS Day marked around the world on May 30.

Various state agencies, including the ministry of health, welfare services, the Institute of Neurology and Genetics, the Neurological Society of Cyprus, and patients’ associations, as well as neurological nurses are united in working to ensure as integrated a life as possible for MS sufferers through early diagnosis and personalised treatment, the nurses said.

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which destroys myelin, the protective layer that covers the nerve cells carrying signals to and from the CNS. Over time, the affected areas change texture and develop scars (known as plaques or lesions) especially in the white matter of the brain and spine.

The disease is considered to be a disorder of the immune system from a combination of genetic and toxic environmental factors.

MS is most common in 20 to 40-year-olds, with a three to one ratio of women to men and is rarely diagnosed in children or people over the age of 65. Clinically it manifests in four main forms, either intermittent or progressive, with symptoms that vary in severity and differ from person to person.

Recent research has shown that MS is the most common neurological disease of young adults and is the leading cause of non-traumatic disability in the young and middle-aged, with progressive loss of productivity and daily challenges.

“With newer treatments (immunomodulatory and symptomatic) and proper follow-up, the course of the disease can be controlled so that patients continue to be functional and enjoy the best possible standard of life,” Pasymn said.

Cypriot health professionals are regularly updated on new research findings and treatment methods for the disease, and actively participate in studies on large sample sizes, it added.