Multiple Sclerosis is the most common autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. This progressive disease attacks the membrane that protects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain. When this insulating material is damaged, the nerve endings begin to misfire and send wrong signals to the body. This situation translates to a wide array of symptoms that can go from having vision problems, all the way to massive fits and seizures and going through episodes of fatigue and muscular cramps.
There is no known cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and that is why treatment focuses on the symptoms and on finding ways to giving patients the best possible quality of life and to ease their discomfort. Pain is reported in over half of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and that is why is important to detect the illness as early as possible so you can have a real conversation with your doctor and thus get prepared to face the condition.
Today in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog, we want to take a look at some of the earliest signs of multiple sclerosis so you can watch for warning signals and make the necessary adjustments to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Cognitive issues are present in about half of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. It is easy to confuse these problems with other types of illnesses and they aren’t always present, but it is important to consider the fact that if they are visible at all, they could be an indication of MS. Some symptoms include depression, problems remembering things and a shorter attention span. One of the most common signs associated with multiple sclerosis is slurred speech or difficulty saying some words and staying organized while expressing thoughts and opinions.
Vision related problems are also extremely common. When myelin is affected, the optic nerves suffer from inflammation and they functions are compromised. The degeneration of the vision can be slow and start by seeing spots, getting tired quickly and showing teary eyes or blurred vision. Double vision is also common and even total vision loss. Problems in the eyes usually come accompanied with pain in one or both eyes.
Since multiple sclerosis affects the nerves, it is common for the mixed signals being sent by the central nervous system to display tingling and numbness around the face and extremities. Sometimes when they damage is too severe it isn’t uncommon for patients to lose all feeling in some areas of the body.
Pain and strong spasms are not as uncommon as one would wish. As we mentioned earlier, chronic pain is common with about half of patients, so when this pain is paired with stiffness of the joints and jerking movements in the extremities then you can probably assume that MS may be the reason. Legs and back are the areas that are generally affected by these symptoms.
Fatigue and weakness with no apparent cause are also early indicators of multiple sclerosis. Chronic fatigue is present in about 80 percent of cases, so it is a symptom that is commonly associated with multiple sclerosis and recognized and identified as a clear indicator of MS.
A dysfunctional bladder and bowel are also extremely common amongst multiple sclerosis patients. The symptoms can include an urge to urinate but with difficulty to do so. Sometimes patients are unable to hold their urine and suffer from incontinence. In more advanced stages is not uncommon to see patients who suffer from constipation, diarrhea and even total loss of bowel control.
Sexually, patients with multiple sclerosis also seem to be affected as both men and women often display erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness. Patients may seem less sensitive as well and with a much lower sexual appetite.
Along with these, there come also other problems with emotional health in general. Patients usually suffer from extreme mood swings and irritability. A condition called pseudobulbar affect, in which patients start to laugh or cry uncontrollably without any apparent provocation, has also been observed in many cases.
The thing about multiple sclerosis is that no two patients are alike and while there are some symptoms that seem to be present in almost all cases, they are not really considered a norm that is always present. It is important that if a person starts to suffer from multiple symptoms that are commonly associated with MS, they visit a doctor immediately in order to get properly tested. Some other symptoms can be present and while they are very different from what we have discussed today, they are somewhat related to the same parts of the body. Some of these symptoms include shortness of breath and difficulty breathing; trouble swallowing, shaking and small seizures and even hearing loss.
Treating the symptoms is sometimes the only type of treatments patients can receive for these diseases and that is why that early detection is so important.
* Featured Image courtesy of Pixabay at Pexels.com