Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

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Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord and that destroys nerve tissue. What follows is a loss of function of the central nervous system. The disease can affect anyone of any age and regardless of gender but most commonly affects females between the ages of 20 and 40. It progresses slowly over many years. The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown despite the fact that the disease was discovered in 1868. Researchers know that the damage to nerves is caused by inflammation but still do not know what causes the inflammation.

Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

The early signs of MS may differ considerably from individual to individual over the course of the disease. No two people will have the same symptoms and they can fluctuate or change over time. One of the known factors that affect how the disease progresses, is the location of the affected nerve fibers. multiple sclerosis symptoms can include:

Weakness
This means weakness or numbness in one or multiple limbs. This usually occurs on one side of the body at a time. It can also affect the trunk and legs.

Fatigue
This occurs in 80 percent of people suffering from multiple sclerosis and can hinder their ability to function in their personal life and at work. It is often the most obvious symptoms in those who have relatively few physical limitations caused by the disease.

Dizziness
People with multiple sclerosis may feel lightheaded or have issues with balance. In rare cases, they may suffer from vertigo which causes them feel like their surroundings are spinning. These symptoms are caused by damage to certain areas in the brain; specifically, the ones that control the visual and spatial information that the body needs to create and maintain equilibrium.

Spasticity
This term covers stiffness and involuntary muscle contractions. The individual with multiple sclerosis may detect spasticity as a slight feeling of muscle tightness or they may have violent and uncontrollable spasms in their extremities. These spasms commonly occur in the legs but spasticity can also cause joint and lower back problems. If it is not treated, spasticity can lead to immobilized joints and pressure sores.

Walking Problems
Gait problems are a common mobility issue for people with multiple sclerosis. They are connected to other symptoms like weakness, spasticity and balance problems. Because of their issues with walking, individuals with multiple sclerosis are prone to falls. Various studies show that as many as 70 percent of multiple sclerosis sufferers had experienced falls within the previous two to six months.

Problems with Vision
Inflammation due to MS affects the optic nerve resulting in a disruption of central vision so that the person with multiple sclerosis experiences blurred vision, double vision or they may lose their vision entirely. Because the loss of vision can occur very gradually, it may not be noticed right away.

Pain
One study of individuals with multiple sclerosis found that almost all of them suffered from pain at one point or another and almost half of them had chronic pain. The types of pain include trigeminal neuralgia, which sometimes occurs as one of the initial multiple sclerosis symptoms. Trigeminal neuralgia is often mistaken for dental pain. Lhermitte’s sign is another symptom and can be described as sensation similar to an electric shock. This sensation travels down the spine from the back of the head. Some people with multiple sclerosis suffer from what is called the “MS hug.” This is a burning sensation around the arms and trunk.

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