Multiple Sclerosis Signs And Symptoms

Multiple Sclerosis symptoms that can be early indicators of MS.

Multiple Sclerosis - commonly called the young person's disease because it frequently strikes adults in the prime of their lives between the ages of 20 and 40 - is difficult to diagnose. One of the only predictable things about MS is that the disease is totally unpredictable.

Even when someone is diagnosed with the disease, there is no way to tell if or how the disease will progress. And it often begins differently in different individuals. In fact, newly diagnosed people are frequently unable to put their finger on the very first symptoms of the disease because many of the signs and symptoms of MS mimic other diseases or seem completely unconnected to each other.

In retrospect, however, and after reviewing many, many cases of the chronic disease of the central nervous system, a number of signs and symptoms appear to be common in patients diagnosed with MS. These symptoms may appear in any order in an individual with the disease, and some individuals with the disease will never exhibit some of these signs or symptoms.

Furthermore, the presence of the signs and symptoms mentioned here are not conclusive evidence of MS. All of these symptoms - by themselves or in combination with other symptoms - are also symptoms of other diseases and/or conditions. Only a trained physician or neurologist can make a diagnosis of MS conclusively - and then usually only after a period of recurrent or persistent symptoms, a series of different symptoms, and/or specific medical tests. This article is in no way intended to suggest a diagnosis of MS without expert medical advice.

Having said that, signs and symptoms of MS may include:

Tingling or numbness in one or more limbs of the body or in specific parts of the body. As mentioned above, this alone is not indicative of MS. There are many other disorders - like carpal tunnel syndrome, for example - that can be associated with tingling or numbness. However, many MS patients do report this symptom and it should be noted that the tingling or numbness can come and go.

Difficulty balancing/dizziness. Likewise, dizziness or difficulty balancing can be a symptom of many conditions - such as an inner ear disorder - and does not by itself indicate MS. However, some MS patients report problems with balancing and periods of dizziness.

Recurrent or steady pain in an area of the body. Many, many diseases and conditions generate pain in the body. Pain alone will never indicate the presence of MS. But some patients with MS do experience pain generated by no other known physical injury or cause.

Confusion or impaired thinking or memory. Illnesses in general can cause somewhat impaired thinking. Serious conditions of many kinds can also generate these symptoms. But again, some patients with MS do experience impairment of their thinking capacities on occasion.

Sensitivity to heat. Just because you feel uncomfortable when exposed to heat does not indicate MS. However, many individuals with the disease experience increased discomfort, feelings of illness, and an increase in other symptoms of the disease when they are exposed to heat - even normal heat that most other individuals can easily tolerate.

Fatigue. There are many, many reasons that people experience fatigue and many illnesses or conditions that are accompanied by fatigue, as well. MS is only one such condition. Again, no one symptom can conclusively point to a diagnosis of MS, but many MS patients report feelings of extreme fatigue that may come and go.

Impaired Vision. The same goes for impaired vision. If you're not seeing well, your eye doctor will want to rule out any other vision problems. Diabetes and other conditions that may affect the eyes must also be considered. Some patients with MS experience problems with their vision, while others do not.

Spasticity or muscle cramps. A charliehorse or two in your leg doesn't indicate MS either. Many perfectly healthy people experience muscle cramps for various reasons. But patients with MS sometimes report problems with spasticity.

Impairment of bladder or bowel function. Common infections or other serious illnesses can also manifest themselves in the bladder or bowel. However, some MS patients have difficulty with incontinence, frequency, and other bladder or bowel-related difficulties.

Partial or total paralysis. Many people automatically associate a diagnosis of MS with partial or complete paralysis, though this is not the case. While some individuals will experience impaired mobility, the majority do not. MS runs the gamut - from mild, barely noticeable symptoms to more obvious symptoms like impaired mobility.

This list is not all-conclusive. Nor is it meant to suggest that you or anyone you know who has or is experiencing one or more of these symptoms might have MS. Only a qualified doctor can make such a diagnosis. However, if you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it's probably time to make an appointment with your physician to determine the cause. And if three or more of these symptoms are present, it might be advisable to talk about the possibility of MS with your doctor.

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