6 Early Signs Of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) That You Should Know
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that damages the central nervous system, meaning it affects your spinal cord and brain. Symptoms and their frequency vary from person to person, they come and go, which makes it very difficult to diagnose.
It is known as a “disease with a thousand faces” because it is not easy to diagnose, the cause is not completely clarified, and the course of the disease is difficult to predict. Only health experts can do proper tests and prove if the symptoms are actually caused by multiple sclerosis.
Common Symptoms Of Multiple Sclerosis
Vision problems are among the first symptoms that appear in MS. Eye disorders can manifest as a double or blurred vision, an uncomfortable sensation in the eyes, or as an optic neuritis, which appears as pain in the eyes.
Unintentional rhythmic movements of the eyes are also common in MS. They can pass on their own but sometimes may be permanent.
Coordination and balance problems
Problems with balance and coordination occur when the disease reaches the cerebellum – area of the brain that is responsible for the coordination of movement.
As a result of abnormal conduction of nerve signals, the muscles become weaker which leads to balance loss while walking or problems with gripping or holding objects.
Multiple sclerosis is not a disease without pain, as many people think. Thirty to eighty percent of the people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis are experiencing pain.
Pain may appear as:
Musculoskeletal pain (pain in muscles, joints, tendons)
Paroxysmal pain (stinging pain, most often on the face)
Chronic neurogenic pain (sensation of tingling, stinging, burning)
Feeling tired is one of the most common symptoms. It occurs in 80% of people with multiple sclerosis and can last for several months.
There are two types of fatigue:
It may be a continuous fatigue, making the patient unable to perform even the easiest work, or a sequential deterioration – tiredness that occurs after a few minutes of physical activity and passes away with rest.
Spasticity or muscle tightness can be very severe and persistent. It most commonly occurs in the legs on MS patients.
The patient may feel annoyance and discomfort when tightness in the muscles appears. But they can also be very painful muscle spasms, which shrink or stretch, causing involuntary movement of the legs. In extreme cases, the spasms can cause the patient to twist and distort completely.
Severe spasticity can appear while walking, sitting or lying, and it can significantly impair the quality of life.
The patient may have problems with the emptying of the bladder, which means that the urine remains in the bladder. This can be very dangerous, as urine that remains in the bladder is the perfect environment for bacteria, causing infection and worsening of the disease.
But it also can be opposite- the bladder becomes overactive and responds even to the smallest amount of fluid, so the patient always has the feeling that he/she needs to go to the toilet.
The brain then reports that the bladder is empty, although in reality it is not, and vice versa that the bladder is full at all times.
Multiple sclerosis is often accompanied by constipation as well.