Signs of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis is a devastating, degenerative nerve disease that often leaves MS patients wheelchair bound and unable to live independently. People living with MS often require acute long term care, either from friends and relatives or within a long term care settings.
Multiple sclerosis is not a disease associated with old age; typically, the onset age is between twenty and forty. Since early detection of MS can help people live a relatively normal life, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of MS. Here are the most common early signs of multiple sclerosis:
1. Fatigue: The most common early sign of MS is fatigue, which usually hits in the late afternoon and is often accompanied with muscle weakness and mental fatigue or drowsiness.
2. Dizziness: Some people experience dizziness or vertigo (a feeling that the environment is spinning around them) in the early stages of MS.
3. Problems with vision: Vision problems occur in more than half of MS cases. One especially common vision problem is called “optic neuritis”, which is the sudden, acute loss of vision in one eye. Other symptoms of optic neuritis include pain when moving that eye, loss of colour vision, and changes to the pupil’s reaction to light. Often times, sight will return to normal without any treatment within two to three weeks.
4. Tingling and other sensations: Another common early sign of MS is a tingling or “pins and needles” feeling in the muscles. This can also be more dramatic and painful, including stabbing, burning, or itching sensations.
5. Muscle spasms: Muscle spasms are a very common and sometimes painful problem associated with MS. Most frequently, the muscle spasms begin in the arms or the legs, and can make the normal functioning of these limbs difficult or even impossible. These muscle spasms can lead to a difficulty in walking, which is another common sign of MS.
6. Difficulty thinking: About half the people who contract MS experience impaired thinking. This impairment can present itself in a variety of different ways, from decreased concentration to memory loss. In a small percentage of MS patients (about ten percent), the impairment of thinking can become so bad that they are unable to perform ordinary daily tasks.
If you experience any of these signs, or notice these symptoms in a friend, it is important to contact a doctor right away.