Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process where the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system. The damaged areas develop multiple areas of scar tissue which gives the disease its name multiple sclerosis.
While the cause of MS is not known, it is believed to involve genetics, immune system abnormalities, and environmental factors.
Although there is no cure for MS, the right treatment can help slow the progression of the disease. Early diagnosis offers the best opportunity to manage the symptoms.
Early Signs and Symptoms of MS
The first signs and symptoms of MS are typically first experienced in one’s 20s or 30s. Here are some of the early signs of MS:
Fatigue and weakness are common early signs of MS as nerve damage to the spine results in chronic fatigue. Weakness is often first noticed in the legs. It may come and go or last for several weeks.
Tingling and Numbness
Another common early sign of MS is tingling and numbness in the extremities, especially the arms, fingers, legs, and face. This may start as a mild symptom and become more severe.
Vision issues are often the first sign of MS. Inflammation affects the optic nerves causing blurry vision, double vision, color distortion, pain when looking up or to the side, or loss of vision.
Balance issues are also common as an early symptom of MS including dizziness, faintness, nausea, and weakness, which can cause trouble walking.
Early symptoms of MS can include incontinence, increased urgency or frequency of urination, trouble starting urination, or night-time urination.
Because sexual arousal begins in the nervous system, early signs of MS may first be noticed as changes to sexual desire and ability to perform.
Emotional and Cognitive Challenges
Some individuals with MS will also experience emotional and cognitive challenges including trouble with memory, attention span, concentration, problem-solving, and abstract reasoning.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care provides support to patients at any stage of their MS diagnosis. Call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about our palliative care services or hospice eligibility for MS.
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