What you need to know about multiple sclerosis: the primary symptoms are named
The central nervous system is one of the most important in the human body. It coordinates the communication of all human organs and systems with each other. Disorders of its functioning lead to numerous disorders and chronic conditions. One of them is multiple sclerosis, a progressive immune-mediated disease in which the defense system mistakenly attacks its own body parts.
Severe forms of multiple sclerosis can lead to vision loss, paralysis, and decreased brain function. Fortunately, with early diagnosis, the disease can be corrected. Healthline, after consulting with neurologist Heidi Moawad, MD, told us what to look for in order not to miss the disease.
In fact, multiple sclerosis is not a simple disease, the symptoms of which can vary and be unpredictable, making it difficult to diagnose. Primary manifestations are usually associated with damage to the protective coating of the nerve, myelin. This condition can be treated with medications, occupational and physiotherapy.
In addition, doctors name other main complaints that may indicate its development.
Tingling and numbness
Since multiple sclerosis affects the brain and spinal cord and affects sensory nerves, there is a decrease in sensitivity to touch, which can affect the ability to walk and do things with your hands.
To avoid missing the onset of the disease, don't ignore numbness and tingling that usually appear on the face, fingers, and toes.
Problems with vision
Inflammation can develop in the optic nerve and lead to eye problems, such as blurred or lost vision. If the disease affects the cranial nerves or brain stem, double vision or problems with eye movement may occur.
The main symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
Neuritis - inflammation of the optic nerve;
Nystagmus - unsteady eye movements;
Diplopia - double vision.
You may not notice changes in your vision right away, so you should see a doctor for an examination if you have any complaints.
Balance and dizziness
People with multiple sclerosis often experience lightheadedness, especially when they change their body position suddenly. This can cause problems with balance and coordination and contribute to gait disturbances.
Weakness and fatigue
Fatigue is due to brain damage and inflammation, and weakness develops due to demyelination or muscle atrophy.
Weakness usually starts in the legs and can appear suddenly and persist for several weeks before improving. Fatigue can occur periodically or develop into a chronic syndrome.
Pain and cramps
Chronic pain and spasms can occur as a result of demyelination. In addition, multiple sclerosis can cause neuropathic pain, an acute condition that occurs when signals to the brain are not properly transmitted. Examples of this condition include itching and pain in the limbs, trigeminal neuralgia, etc.
In multiple sclerosis, the muscles become stiff and tense, which leads to spasms and uncontrolled painful movements or, on the contrary, to the inability to bend the limbs. In the later stages of the disease, there may be problems with motor skills, swallowing, and speech.
Cognitive impairment and emotional changes
Many patients with multiple sclerosis experience cognitive impairment over time and as the disease progresses:
Reduced attention span;
Difficulties with organization.
In addition, such people are prone to depression. Excessive irritability, mood swings, and sometimes bouts of uncontrollable laughter and crying may also occur.
Bladder and bowel dysfunction
This symptom is also common in people with multiple sclerosis and includes:
Frequent urination and strong urges;
Inability to hold urine;
Inability to urinate.
Bowel problems are less common, but can manifest as constipation, diarrhea, and loss of bowel control.
Disorders in the sexual sphere can also occur against the background of multiple sclerosis. This is because physical desire is formed in the central nervous system, which is attacked by the disease. In addition, it is affected by constant fatigue, spasticity, and emotional state.
These symptoms cannot indicate the development of multiple sclerosis without additional examination. As the disease manifests itself in different ways, some patients will also have complaints of hearing loss, tremors, seizures, breathing problems, and loss of taste.
a consultation with a neurologist and a thorough examination are necessary for being diagnosed. In addition to an eye examination and conversation, it may include
Neurological examination to assess brain function:
Conducting visual tests;
Magnetic resonance imaging to obtain an image of the brain;
A spinal tap to examine the fluid around the brain and spinal cord.
As you can see, multiple sclerosis is a serious disease that is currently completely incurable. Symptoms can suddenly appear and disappear for a long time, but relapses can be unpredictable. That is why, if you have warning signs, do not hesitate to visit a doctor, because early diagnosis gives a good chance of successfully preventing the rapid progression of the disease.
Earlier, OBOZREVATEL talked about the need for timely diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Kateryna Misyura, founder of the patient organization Ukrainian Community of People with Multiple Sclerosis UCMS , noted that life with the disease can and should be full.