Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an as of yet incurable disease wherein a person’s immune system incorrectly attacks nerve endings around the body, resulting in impaired function that progressively gets worse over time. It is the unpredictability of MS that often so negatively affects people – because it’s so difficult to predict the course of MS, people with the disease are often unable to adequately prepare. Symptoms are also very diverse, meaning a person may not realise they have MS until they undergo in-depth procedures as directed by a specialist. Depending on how the immune system attacks the body and the severity of these attacks, symptoms can range from manageable things like numbness around the body and fatigue to paralysis and complete vision loss.
Recognise the first signs
Learning the first signs of MS is key in adequately preparing for the disease. Adequate preparation can help patients navigate an already debilitating illness to make it much more manageable in the long-term. Early signs of multiple sclerosis that are common in patients can include things like vision issues, cognitive issues, tingles and numbed areas around the body, frequent pain, unexpected spasms, weakness, general fatigue, dizziness, bladder issues and sexual dysfunction. We’ll endeavour to go through each symptom in some detail to help potential sufferers identify them quickly. Vision problems are a common symptom in MS due to inflammation affecting the optic nerve, which in turn disturbs a person’s vision to cause blurring, double vision, and in extreme cases, complete loss of vision. Tingling and numbness is also extremely common due to multiple sclerosis negatively affecting the brain and spinal cord. This causes issue with signals sent all over the body, but particularly in the fingers, face, arms and legs. Severe and chronic pain, stiffness of the muscles and involuntary muscle spasms are similarly common with MS.
More common symptoms
Fatigue and weakness affect 80 percent of people in the early stages of multiple sclerosis due to deterioration of nerves in the spinal column of sufferers. Light-headedness and Dizziness often affect the coordination and balance of sufferers, making it difficult for those with MS to move around. Dysfunction of both the bladder and bowel are also very common in sufferers of MS, defined by the frequent need to urinate or complete inability to do so. A compromised nervous system can very easily result in sexual dysfunction due to the complex processes needed for sexual arousal. Cognitive impairment, due to nerves in the brain being attacked, can result in memory issues, loss of attention span and an inability to stay organised and depression. Depression-related to cognitive impairment can cause severe mood swings and irritability. Despite these being some of the most common symptoms, there are still quite a few symptoms sufferers of MS can experience.
Get checked today
The large list of symptoms that are common to people with multiple sclerosis should make it clear that a diagnosis is not always easy or predictable. Many of the initial symptoms related to MS are experienced by people regularly, and are usually non-harmful – it’s when these symptoms start compounding that you should take the initiative to check up on yourself. The unpredictability of the disease warrants a visit to you your GP for a consultation if you’re even a little bit unsure – MS isn’t too common, so in the best case scenario, you’ll get a clean bill of health and at the very least you’ll have caught it in time.