Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks vital parts of the body known for everyday function. It mostly attacks the brain, optic nerves, including the spinal cord.
Due to the damages in the protective coverings of the nerves, this disease is said to attack the central nervous system. According to study, individuals who are mostly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis ages from 20 to 50 years old.
The progress of the disease is quite unpredictable. This disease doesn’t even have a cure. However, there are ways that you can do to relieve the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis means “scar tissue in multiple areas”.
Four types of Multiple Sclerosis
- Clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) is said to be the very first episode of this disease. Its symptoms usually lasts for 24 hours.
- Relapse-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common type of multiple sclerosis and is even known to attack the majority of the population.
- Primary progressive MS (PPMS) is the type of MS that includes symptoms that worsen progressively. It affects 10 to 15% of the population.
- Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) is the stage which comes after relapses of MS.
Overall signs of Multiple Sclerosis include:
- Visual disturbances
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with thinking and memory
- Problems with balance
Early signs of Multiple Sclerosis
1. Vision problems (blurry vision, double vision, loss of vision)
One of the most common early signs of MS is when the patient starts to experience vision issues.
Unlike other symptoms, vision problems are quite hard to detect. This is because this sign doesn’t show right away since it’s progress is sort of slow. Usually, MS only affects one eye. But for some rare cases, it could affect both. Severe cases of patients with MS could even cause them to lose their eyesight.
2. Pain and muscle spasm
Muscle spasms and muscle pain are both pretty common to everyone. However, they could also be early signs of multiple sclerosis.
A study suggests that a majority of the people who has multiple sclerosis are prone to chronic pain. The legs and the back are considered to be the most affected area. You are most likely to experience stiff joints and muscles and could even have uncontrollable movements.
3. Weakness and fatigue
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, almost 80 percent of the people are experiencing unexplainable fatigue due to MS.
Although fatigue is already normal to everyone, there are still some distinct characteristics that the researchers were able to identify from people with MS and from people who don’t. Researchers were able to find out that MS fatigue comes on a daily basis and that it usually appears in the morning. It is also more severe than normal fatigue and that it could easily be aggravated by heat and humidity.
4. Numbness and tingling
Another common sign of MS is numbness. People who are getting early signals of MS usually start to experience an electric-shock-like feeling which starts from the neck, down to the back, as it travels to the arms and legs.
5. Bladder issues
Bladder issues such as constipation is an unfortunate symptom of MS. It could give you consistently back and forth trips to the restroom. It could also disturb you at night since you would have to get up from bed just to pee.
Bladder problems due to MS could also include frequent urination or inability to hold on urine. Patients with MS could also experience loss of bowel control.
6. Dizziness and balance issues
Dizziness and loss of balance control due to MS could increase the risk of exposing someone to danger.
According to research, most people who suffer from MS are most likely to suffer vertigo. They are reported to experience dizziness and would lose coordination in balance every time they stand up.
Clumsiness due to MS is somehow associated with the symptom on number 6. Patient with MS could possibly experience a hard time walking since they might lose coordination with balance as well.
8. Sexual dysfunction
Both men and women could suffer from sexual dysfunction because of multiple sclerosis. It is said that women could experience vaginal dryness and on the other hand, men are most likely to deal with erection issues. Both genders could also have low sex drives and could even have problems reaching orgasm.
No single test can already confirm multiple sclerosis. Your doctor will have to perform different kinds of test to further assess the signs of the disease. He/she could conduct a physical examination and could even track records about your family history.
Several strategies will be included to diagnose a patient with MS. Your doctor could conduct neurological exams, imaging scans, and spinal fluid analysis. Your doctor could also add other tests to help rule out symptoms of MS.
As mentioned above, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis. However, some of the commonly prescribed drugs that are used to relieve symptoms include Copaxone, corticosteroids, Tysabri, mitoxantrone, and interferon beta 1a or 1b.
A patient diagnosed with multiple sclerosis could also undergo rehabilitation to help them better their abilities to function for their everyday living. The patient may undergo any of the following programs:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Cognitive rehabilitation
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Speech therapy
Similar to other health issues, multiple sclerosis is also a challenging disease. Thanks to science, researchers and people from the medical field were able to identify some treatments that could help improve functions of people with MS.
Despite the medications and physical therapies, the best solution you can provide yourself to combat MS is to keep in touch with your doctor. You know how the saying goes, “If you need help, go get it”.