7 Warning Signs That Indicate Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological condition affecting the spinal cord and brain. Here, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, which protects nerve fibers. The condition disrupts communication between the brain and other body parts. This neurological condition lasts long and can impact people as young as 20. Relapsing multiple sclerosis is a severe type of MS that can often deteriorate the patient’s condition. Between these flare-ups, they will have periods of recovery also.
Early warning signs of MS
The signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis may vary between patients and keep changing as the disease progresses. Some early warning signs that indicate MS at its initial stages are listed below.
1. Cognitive issues
About half of the patients with multiple sclerosis suffer from cognitive dysfunction. These problems are often mild, and it is rare to have severe issues. This condition does not usually change one’s intellectual ability but might lead to poor memory, slowed thinking, and attention deficit issues. A patient will struggle to find the right word to use while speaking.
2. Optic neuritis
In the early stages of MS, a patient’s eye health might also get affected. This disease damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye and brain. It is usually known to affect only one eye, but there is a chance of damage happening to both eyes. The condition gives rise to problems like poor contrast, blurred vision, rapid vision loss, dim vision, and eye pain during movement.
The first indicator of multiple sclerosis may include numbness or a tingling sensation along the arms, face, and legs. It gives a feeling of electric shock when movement occurs along the neck or head. The symptoms may transmit down the spine or can occur along the arms or legs. Furthermore, the sensation impairs the ability to perform daily tasks with hands and walking.
The disease is also accompanied by severe pain and muscle spasms. This pain may occur due to demyelination (damage to the myelin sheath) or other symptoms associated with the condition. Neuropathic pain is the most severe among the various forms of multiple sclerosis pain. This form of pain crops up when a nerve cannot transmit correct signals to the brain. Different types of neuropathic pain are listed below.
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- This type of severe pain condition affects the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is found on each side of the face and is responsible for overseeing the feeling of pain and other sensations originating from the face to the brain.
- Lhermitte’s sign
- This form of pain is also addressed as the barber chair phenomenon. It gives an uncomfortable electrical shock-type feeling that moves from the back to the limbs.
- MS Hug
- It is also called banding, and the pain occurs due to the accumulation of symptoms caused by spasms along the intercostal muscles.
- Paroxysmal spasms
- This form of pain is known to start suddenly and survive only for a few minutes or seconds, but may occur several times a day and obstruct daily activities.
- The health condition arising from MS leads to pulsating pain and sensation along one side of the head. It may also lead to other issues like vomiting, nausea, and sensitivity to light.
Multiple sclerosis may even lead to severe neuropathic pain comprising dysesthesias or pruritis. The condition leads to painful sensations along the limbs, resulting in tingling, itching, and other similar feelings. Furthermore, patients with this disorder also experience stiffness across any limb or painful jerking movements along the sides. Different forms of spasticity linked to multiple sclerosis comprise flexor spasticity and extensor spasticity. Flexor spasticity is when the muscles become so stiff that they bend and can’t be straightened. On the other hand, extensor spasticity causes the muscles to become so rigid that the legs and arms get straightened and become resistant to bending.
MS is also known to give rise to severe fatigue and weakness, which hinders patients’ daily activity. Multiple lesions along the brain and inflammation are the reasons for the weakness. Additionally, lethargy may develop because of muscle shrinking due to lack of use or demyelination of the nerves. Furthermore, patients may also suffer from severe weariness due to the deterioration of nerves along the spinal column. Commonly, the condition occurs suddenly and lasts for several days before displaying any improvement. The symptom may occur initially along the legs and then radiates to other body parts.
6. Poor coordination
It is another sign that can appear in the initial stage of MS. Patients feel dizzy and experiences a lack of coordination, leading to mobility issues. These symptoms become more evident when the patient stays in a standing position.
7. Dysfunctional bladder
Along with mobility issues, bladder dysfunction is also noticed in patients with multiple sclerosis. The problems associated with the symptom are listed below.
- Frequent urination- The patient urinates more frequently than usual
- Urinary incontinence- Voluntary bladder control is lost due to weakened bladder muscle, enlarged prostate, or damage along the pelvic floor muscles.
- A strong urge to urinate occurs when the patient has an overactive bladder.
- Poor bladder retention- It is a condition where the patient cannot empty all the urine in their bladder.
Apart from the signs mentioned above, people with MS may also experience bowel issues like constipation and diarrhea. This disease can cause physical and mental issues, but the proper treatment makes these symptoms manageable. There is no cure for MS; therapies focus on speeding recovery, avoiding relapses, and delaying the condition’s progression. People showing mild symptoms of the condition can do well without expert intervention. However, if left untreated for a long time, the condition might lead to severe health complications.