Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that can change the overall function of your central nervous system. This unpredictable disease directly affects your spinal cord and brain.
Normally, the immune system is supposed to protect your neurons and nerve cells. But multiple sclerosis starts to destroy the myelin in your body. According to a survey, around 2.3 million people are affected by this disease worldwide.
The first indications of the presence of multiple sclerosis include:
Optic Neuritis is a very common sign of MS. It basically blurs your vision or causes severe eye pain. And sometimes, it leads to serious headaches. A common sign of this disease is that it affects only one eye at a time. Some patients experience a complete loss of vision while some people experience temporary partial loss of vision.
Another common sign of Multiple Sclerosis is fatigue. During the development of this disease, more than 80% of patients experience this problem. Some patients experience a general feeling of tiredness while some complain that they start feeling weakness after repetitive activities.
Pins and Needles
Some patients complain that they feel tingling and numbness on their faces, feet, legs, or arms. They often describe it as “pins and needles” like sensation.
Inflammation of the spinal cord and transverse myelitis are common reasons for numbness and tingling. Sometimes, this feeling lasts for hours to days.
Some patients face acute or chronic pain during Multiple Sclerosis. This pain is called neuropathic pain in medical terms. The pain usually appears in the nerves that are affected by the disease.
MS hug, L’hermitte’s sign and trigeminal neuralgia are the prominent examples of acute neuropathic pain.
Dizziness is another common problem that may appear in the early stages of Multiple Sclerosis. It’s usually described as vertigo or lightheadedness.
This problem usually appears when you quickly go from sitting to a standing position or when you quickly sit up in bed. This symptom puts you at increased risk for falls since your mobility is reduced. It basically makes you feel uncomfortable while you’re walking.
Unfortunately, common motion sickness remedies like scopolamine or diphenhydramine cannot help with resolving this problem.
Muscle Stiffness and Spasm
Another common early symptom of Multiple Sclerosis is muscle stiffness and spasms that usually occurs in your legs. This means you might start facing problems with walking as the problem gets bigger. This problem normally appears when you go to extreme cold or hot areas. Similarly, some infections and sudden movements may also cause this problem.
Bladder and Bowel Issues
Individuals also suffer from bladder dysfunction and bowel dysfunction as MS develops. Bladder issues may include Polyuria (frequent urination), incontinence (inability to hold urine), and nocturia (frequent nighttime urination). More than 80 percent of patients suffer from bladder dysfunction but only a few suffer from bowel dysfunction. Bowel issues may include constipation, diarrhea, and incontinence.
Problems with Memory and Thinking
Problems with cognitive function are also very common among MS patients. Patients start facing problems with concentration, language, and learning as the disease gets serious. Similarly, they may become a victim of forgetfulness over time. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration has approved two medications including interferon beta-1a and interferon beta-1b for treating these symptoms.
Sexual Health Problems
The MS patients can easily become a victim of sexual health problems because the central nervous system empowers sexual arousal. It doesn’t only affect men but women can also lose sexual desires. Men may face problems with maintaining an erection or they may experience erectile dysfunction.
The MS patients regularly experience mood swings. It can leads them to serious psychological problems like bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression. During the course of the illness, more than 30% of patients may become a victim of major depression.
When to See a Doctor
You must consider visiting a neurologist for diagnosis and treatment of the problem if you’re experiencing early signs of the disease.
You’d be delaying your diagnosis and treatment if you tried to control the symptoms on your own. Even if your preference is to use natural treatments, it’s important to be examined by a neurologist.
It’s a bitter fact that the experts have not yet found a solution for Multiple Sclerosis. But there are several treatments that help with improving the prognosis while alleviating bothersome symptoms. That’s why you should consider visiting a neurologist in the earlier stages.