Early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) range from numbness and tingling to vision problems, movement disorders, and paralysis.
MS is a degenerative or progressive disease of the central nervous system (CNS). It occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), the disease affects nearly one million adults in the United States. Most people with MS experience their first symptoms in their 20s or 30s.
Early intervention offers the best chance of preventing long-term disability. Therefore, it is important to recognize the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis and seek medical help immediately. Read below for more information.
Changes in visual acuity in multiple sclerosis
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports that vision loss is often the first symptom of multiple sclerosis. Inflammation and demyelination can impair vision if it affects the optic nerve.
Possible vision changes:
- Cloudy appearance
- Double vision
- Red distortion
- Reduced vision
- Pain occurs when you move your eye up or to the side
Fatigue and weakness in MS
Many people with multiple sclerosis experience fatigue and weakness. Damage to the nerves in the spine and brain can lead to chronic or chronic fatigue.
Weakness often affects one limb and then other parts of the body. Symptoms can be very bothersome for days or weeks or go unnoticed at first and get worse over time.
Tingling and numbness in multiple sclerosis
Tingling and numbness are another early sign of multiple sclerosis. These symptoms often occur when:
- the face
- the leg
Numbness and tingling are most noticeable at first. However, it becomes painful over time. In most cases, these symptoms do not cause disability.
Symptoms may appear and disappear during the course of the disease, may accumulate and decrease, but are less noticeable.
Pain and numbness in MS
Worldwide, two-thirds of patients with multiple sclerosis suffer from associated pain.
Examples of short-term pain include:
- Lhermitte symptoms, small electric shock-like sensations in the back of the head and on the spine.
- Nerve pain, burning or sharp sensations throughout the body
- MS hug, pressure around the ribs
- Dizziness and loss of balance in multiple sclerosis
Dizziness and balance problems affect many people with multiple sclerosis. You can experience the following:
- A feeling of imbalance
- He comes often
- Almost like a trip
- Sensation of falling to one side
These symptoms can lead to loss of balance, falls or difficulty walking.
Less commonly, people with multiple sclerosis experience vertigo, a feeling that everything around them is spinning.
Bladder and bowel problems in MS
Most people with MS have some degree of bladder dysfunction. Bladder problems occur when injuries affect the nerve signals that control the functioning of the bladder and urinary tract.
Symptoms usually include:
- Increased frequency of urination
- To urinate urgently
- Difficulty urinating
- Nocturnal urination
- Difficulty emptying the bladder
Bowel problems are also common in MS patients. Many suffer from constipation and loss of bowel control.
Sexual problems in MS
Sexual arousal begins in the CNS when the brain sends messages to the sexual organs.
Because of this nerve damage, some people with MS experience changes in their sexual desire, sexual performance, and ability to achieve orgasms.
Other symptoms of MS, such as fatigue and pain, can reduce libido.
Cognitive and emotional changes with MS
About half of people with MS will show cognitive changes that affect them
- It’s hard to find the words
- memory loss
Difficulties in information processing speed
Other symptoms of MS
- Hearing loss
- The problem of language
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty walking
- Itchy sensation
- Loss of taste
MS risk factors
MS is an autoimmune disease that affects the CNS. The exact reason for this is unclear. However, genetic and environmental factors are likely to influence pathogenesis.
Factors that increase the risk of developing multiple sclerosis include:
Age: MS most often affects people between the ages of 20 and 40. However, it can happen at any age.
Gender: The condition affects three times more women than men, according to the NMSS.
Family history: People with a family history of MS may be at increased risk.
Infections: Many viruses can increase the risk of MS, including an abnormal immune response to the Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis.
Geographic Region: MS is more common in warm climates than in sunny areas. In the United States, this condition is more common in northern states.
Race: MS can affect people of all races. Recent studies have shown that the incidence of MS among blacks is similar to that of whites.
When to contact your doctor
People with the first symptoms of MS should see a doctor right away. CNS damage can occur before a person shows symptoms.
Early diagnosis and treatment may offer the best chance of preventing this disorder.
Several treatments can slow the progression of MS, and medications can help reduce symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and bladder problems.
The symptoms of MS vary widely. Most people with MS develop symptoms in their 20s or 30s.
Initial symptoms include changes in vision, numbness and tingling, and weakness. However, people can have these symptoms at any time, or they can recur during the course of the disease.
Some effects of MS, such as muscle pain, chronic pain, and emotional disturbance, do not go away until later.
Anyone concerned about symptoms that may indicate MS should talk to their doctor. The earlier the treatment starts, the more effective it is.