Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the central nervous system affecting the brain, spinal cord and its nerves and muscles that support the spinal cord. MS is an inflammatory disease where the white blood cells that normally fight infection penetrate the nervous system and cause various problems.
MS is a demyelinating disorder because the myelin sheath that protects nerves or nerve fiber is damaged as a result of inflammation. When this happens, nerves cannot conduct electrical impulses as well as they should and various symptoms appear. It is possible that the symptoms may occur and subside in time (relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis) or may progress (progressive MS). However, multiple sclerosis is a disease that persists for long periods of time.
There are several warning signs that may indicate a person has MS. Unfortunately, these signs often go unnoticed. The MS diagnosis is difficult to establish. Not only is the condition unpredictable, but it is difficult to recognize.
There are more than 50 signs and symptoms that might indicate the presence of multiple sclerosis in a person, including numbness, depression, blurred vision and fatigue. Depending on the severity of these events, the type of treatment is instituted.
Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis
– Hearing problems – Hearing difficulties are a surprising and less common symptom in people with MS. Only about 6% of those diagnosed with MS have hearing problems. These can range from mild to sudden hearing loss. In fact, sudden deafness may be the first sign of multiple sclerosis. However, this is not a typical symptom, because it could be misinterpreted.
– Vertigo – Vertigo is a quite common symptom of multiple sclerosis (occurs in about 20% of patients). Vertigo is uncomfortable and can be accompanied by nervousness or anxiety. Fortunately, this is not a permanent event and does not indicate any specific MS injury or inflammation. In addition, vertigo may have other causes.
– Bladder dysfunction – People with multiple sclerosis may suffer from urinary incontinence or involuntary loss of urine. Because this problem is quite embarrassing, patients may not report to their doctor sooner. However, even this can be treated. There are many excellent treatment options available for bladder dysfunction, including behavioral and dietary approaches.
– Tremor – Tremor is one of the most unpleasant symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Nearly 37% of patients with multiple sclerosis face trembling. 56% of them present shaking of the hands, 10% trembling legs, 9% shaking of the head and 7% shaking of the trunk. For these patients, the doctor might prescribe some medications that could relax them. One way to improve the MS specific tremor is physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles.
– Sexual Dysfunction – Research has shown that over 63% of people with MS have a less intense sexual activity because after spinal nerve is damaged the signals that the brain send to the genitals are affected.
– Numbness and tingling – These are some of the most common symptoms of multiple sclerosis. Quite a few people with multiple sclerosis reported paraesthesia, a specific form of numbness and tingling that accompanies multiple sclerosis.
– Depression – between depression and MS there is a complicated relationship, as they can aggravate each other. Depression includes many of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and is often difficult to tell the difference between the two. It is important that the diagnosis and treatment are correct.
– Headaches – Although headaches is not a specific symptom of the disease, some studies show that women are more susceptible, unlike men, to headaches. Pain medication can be used without a prescription. However, your doctor may offer the best solution in this regard.
– Difficulty swallowing – People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis can register difficulty swallowing or dysphagia, especially if the brainstem is affected. For some patients, food or beverages may stop in the esophagus, while others may have problems with chewing and can choke when they eat or drink.
Swallowing problems may occur before the disease’s diagnosis or as the disease progresses. The researchers reported that approximately one third of patients may have trouble swallowing. This drawback can be solved with a therapist who will teach the patient new ways to swallow. In severe cases, it may be necessary to introduce a feeding tube into the stomach.
– Problems with thinking, learning and planning – About half of those diagnosed with MS have problems with learning, thinking and planning (cognitive dysfunction), in the early stages of the disease. They can experience:
• problems understanding and using language
• short attention span
• trouble learning and remembering new information (usually long-term memory is not affected)
• difficulties in processing visual information, planning and problem solving
• difficulty in solving problems involving reasoning.
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