Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a condition affecting the central nervous system. Resulting from communication issues between the brain and the body, MS causes the immune system to attack the myelin and nerve fibers. Multiple sclerosis early warning signs include vision problems, tingling and numbness, pains and spasms, weakness or fatigue, balance problems or dizziness, bladder issues and cognitive problems.
These are some multiple sclerosis MS early warning signs to look out for:
1. Vision problems
Vision problems are usually among one of the first symptoms a person with MS experiences. MS patients with vision problems may be impacted in the following ways:
Through optic neuritis- inflamed optic nerves that may result in dimmed vision, pain from moving the eye, and even loss of the ability to see color.
- Through nystagmus: an uncontrolled and involuntary movement of the eye.
- Through diplopia- damaged nerves that control your eye movement resulting in double
- One’s vision can even become blurry.
- Complete or partial vision loss.
The redeeming factor with this symptom is that recovery is possible. Medication and specially prescribed lenses can assist.
2. Tingling and numbness
A prevalent symptom, the feeling of “pins and needles” or of your limbs being “asleep,” is associated with lessened sensations throughout the body. These feelings are not consistent but may come and go at intervals. Individuals who experience this symptom may find that it can be mild or intense. It can restrict one’s ability to function regularly, affecting:
- Simple tasks such as holding a coffee mug.
There is no known medication available to act as a treatment for these sensations.
3. Pain and spasms
Pain experience can be the direct result of the illness or a secondary consequence of a symptom. However it happens, pain is a common phenomenon, and so are spasms:
- One can experience acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-term) pain.
- The feeling of stabbing, burning, or squeezing sensations are associated with
- neuropathic pain.
- Musculoskeletal pain tends to be associated with injuries and alters mobility.
- Spasticity is involuntary movements that may produce pain and are common in the
- Flexor spasticity causes tightness in the muscles to where the limbs are bent and
- experience trouble straightening out.
- Extensor spasticity tightens the muscles and results in limbs being unable to bend.
With this illness, spasms can benefit persons with weakness as a symptom or aggravate already pained muscles. Pain and spasticity associated with MS can be treated with and without medication.
4. Weakness or fatigue
A determination of what is causing muscle weakness is essential in its management. Deconditioned muscles are not in use and result in weakened muscles. When nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, it may also result in weakness. Weakness can lead to:
- Interference with walking
- Poor endurance and
- An overall lowering of one’s ability to be active.
5. Balance problems or dizziness
Lassitude is fatigue associated with the illness that generally happens daily and can be sudden with various triggers. Medication, exercise, and physical therapists can improve the body’s functionality in these cases. MS brain lesions damage areas along the nerves, this affects one’s ability to coordinate visually and spatially to send the correct signals to the brain for balance to be maintained. Individuals experiencing balance problems:
- Tend to complain of lightheadedness or a spinning sensation (vertigo).
- A middle ear infection may also result in feelings of dizziness.
Treatment for this symptom includes motion sickness drugs. However, one should aim to know the cause of the sign before attempting to treat it.
6. Bladder issues
A healthy bladder is responsible for healthy kidneys and the prevention of infections. Patients with bladder issues due to MS may experience:
- Nocturnal (frequent night-time urine)
- An inability to hold their urine
- Frequent urination issues
- An urgency to urinate.
This list is not exhausted, but these issues affect one’s overall quality of life. Managing these symptoms requires a modified diet, monitoring of liquid intake at various intervals, and bladder training.
7. Cognitive problems
The proper functioning of the brain is cognition. The ability to learn, organize, plan, focus, retain information, among many other functions, can be impacted by cognitive problems due to MS. The parts most impacted are:
- The processing of information
Most persons tend to have mild symptoms treated using cognitive rehabilitation.
A patient with MS can live well. Diet, exercise, emotional coping strategies, cognitive health, and engaging relationships should be a focus. There are treatment options available for most, if not all, symptoms of the illness. Knowing what triggers each sign may help in the fight to maintain overall wellbeing.