Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive disease of the central nervous system (spinal cord and brain), which involves a patient’s immune system mistakenly attacking the body’s healthy nerves (autoimmune system). Affecting hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and millions around the world, MS is both unpredictable and incurable.
However, there is treatment available to manage the disease and experts have figured out the common symptoms that are caused by MS. Many of them can be caught early on such as:
1. Weakness or fatigue
When a person experiences fatigue on a regular basis for unexplainable reasons, they may be experiencing early signs of MS. Weakness or fatigue are one of the main early signs of MS. Roughly 80 percent of people with MS have stated that they experience chronic fatigue which is due to their nerves deteriorating in their spine.
2. Vision issues
Vision problems with people who are experiencing early problems may have several different symptoms. They can come in the form of blurring in one eye, pain in one eye, or complete vision loss in one eye.
3. Tingling and numbness
Tingling and numbness within a limb is a harder symptom to detect because patients may often mistake it as being due to sleeping in the wrong position or sitting a certain way for a long time. However, doctors say that if the sensations persist for over an hour, they should seek medical attention.
4. Pains and spasms
Chronic pain is an ailment that is seen amongst several health issues, however, when there are pains and spasms combined, it may be an early sign of MS. Spasms in the legs and the back are the most common areas MS patients experience these symptoms.
5. Balance problems or dizziness
If a patient notices that they feel dizzy or lightheaded for an alarming period of time they could be experiencing early signs of MS. Typically the dizziness will last for two days. The symptoms from this also cause trouble in keeping balance because the equilibrium is off.
6. Bladder issues
People who are experiencing symptoms of early MS may experience some bladder issues. These issues include urinary urgency, difficulty emptying the bladder, nighttime urination. These symptoms occur when the lesions begin to affect nerve signals around the bladder. They also occur within 80 percent of MS patients, but are one of the symptoms that are easier to manage.
7. Cognitive problems
Another way that MS affects the nerves is through the brain. It could affect a person’s emotions with common mental health problems such as stress, depression, and even anxiety. It can also cause several cognitive problems such as memory loss, short attention span, the ability to concentrate, and abstract reasoning.
8. Rarer signs of MS
Although these signs are the most common early symptoms people may suspect there are several rarer signs of MS that people should be aware of. Some are headaches, tremors, hearing loss, trouble walking, and even itching to name a few.
If any of these symptoms last longer and are more frequent than usual, seeking out a doctor as soon as possible will help determine if the person has MS. Depending on this, doctors can determine how well the condition can be managed depending on how early the symptoms began.