Multiple Sclerosis

A run down of symptoms and some basic facts about multiple sclerosis.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) most often affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40. A chronic disease of the nervous system, MS can result in unpredictable physical and emotional effects. Caring for an individual with this disease can be very time consuming and frustrating, but you can make a difference.

Many causes have been suggested for MS, and research is ongoing. Identifying the disease can be notoriously difficult, because the symptom progression for MS varies in both the kind of conditions that occur and the severity of each. Because of this, the occurrence of the following symptoms may not be indicative of MS. What’s important is to take note of these symptoms and to discuss them with a doctor or specialist.

Some possible early signs of multiple sclerosis include:

  • Numbness or paresthesia – an abnormal burning or prickling sensation generally felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet and which occurs without apparent stimulus.
  • Para- or monoparesis (paralysis of the lower limbs or of a single limb).
  • Double vision.
  • Optic neuritis, a condition in which the nerve tissue of the eye becomes swollen and red, causing blurred, dim, or otherwise impaired vision.
  • Ataxia, a group of chronic and progressive neurological disorders affecting coordination and balance.
  • Bladder control problems.

Later symptoms may include:

  • Lack of coordination
  • Depression
  • Severe emotional difficulties
  • Difficulty walking or abnormalities in stride
  • Fatigue and general tiredness

There are different classifications for MS, according to the different stages in its clinical course. These include: benign, relapsing, remitting (the most common), progressive-relapsing, primary progressive and secondary progressive. Medical professionals should keep you informed about what to expect from each stage.

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