What is MS?
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system, meaning it affects the brain and spinal cord. In the most common type symptoms come and go. However, MS is tricky. Because so many other conditions can also cause similar symptoms. On the other side, it can take years or even decades for people with MS to be diagnosed.
80% of people with MS will experience fatigue at one point or another. Some people experience “MS lassitude,” a very severe fatigue that occurs daily that tends to get worse as the day wears on.
Numbness is often one of the first symptoms. Numbness can occur in the face, the body, or the arms and leg’s.
Tingling may feel like your arm, fingers, or toes are falling asleep, yet never quite waking up. People may also experience something called the “MS hug” which feels like somebody is grabbing them very tightly around the midsection.
Movement problems are a hallmark of MS.People may report they feel suddenly weak in one limb or they may find objects slipping easily out of their hands. If there’s damage to the cerebellum people might also be unsteady on their feet and prone to falling.
Spasticity can involve both stiffness as well as involuntary muscle contractions.
Vision problems are one of the most common early symptoms prompting a person to visit the doctor. The problem can manifest as double vision, eye pain, blurred vision, or a scotoma.
Pain is often the direct result of nerves damaged by the disease. The person may feel severe burning sensations in their legs, feet or hands, or might imagine a knife is stabbing the side of his or her face because the nerves on that side are inflamed. Pain can also be musculoskeletal, resulting from impaired gait that causes misalignment of the hips and spine.
Bladder problems in people with MS can manifest in two ways. Some people have difficulty emptying their bladder or people might respond to even the tiniest bit of fluid.
The most common bowel problem related to MS is constipation.
Dizziness and Vertigo
Common drugs used to treat dizziness and vertigo in otherwise healthy people can be effective.
For women, that means loss of sensation, loss of vaginal lubrication, and an inability to achieve orgasm. For men, it can mean sensory changes as well as difficulty getting and maintaining an erection and difficulty reaching orgasm.
Changes in the immune system can contribute to depression, as can biochemical changes in the brain.
Cognitive dysfunction affects people with MS. This could be recent or “working” memory or the speed at which a person is able to process information. Or a person may have trouble focusing or multi-tasking.
Not only are there organic changes in the brain that result in anxiety, but the ongoing, uncertain nature of MS can be nerve-wracking. MS can involve mood swings and irritability.
About 10% of people with MS may experience “pseudobulbar affect”, a neurologic change that usually occurs in tandem with cognitive changes.
Speech and Voice Disorder
A possible problem is dysarthria, a motor speech problem that manifests as slurring, poor articulation of words, and speaking too loudly or too softly. Another possibility is dysphonia, a change in voice quality, such as sounding hoarse or nasal.
This amazing article could come in handy for anyone who may or may not know about MS, go to Health.com to read more in depth about these signs and symptoms.