Multiple sclerosis, also known as MS, is a disease affecting the central nervous system, the spinal cord, and the brain. It causes various symptoms, including vision, balance, and cognitive problems. Multiple sclerosis occurs when your immune system attacks the nerves and brain. The reason for the attack is thought to be both environmental and genetic factors. There is no known MS treatment available, but the management of the condition can be done through different MS options depending on your symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms below, you should go and see a doctor for a diagnosis:
1. Balance issues
Issues with balance and coordination and dizziness can reduce your mobility if you have MS, leading to problems with your gait. Individuals with MS regularly feel dizzy, lightheaded, or vertigo (feeling like their surroundings are spinning). You will experience this mostly when you stand up.
2. Vision problems
Vision issues are among the most common MS symptoms. Inflammation disrupts vision and impacts the optic nerve. This may cause vision loss or blurred vision. The brainstem or cranial nerves may occasionally be involved, causing double vision or eye movement issues. Vision problems may not be noticeable immediately. Optic nerve inflammation may be accompanied by vision loss. There are various MS options to cope with vision changes related to MS.
3. Numbness and spasms
Involuntary muscle spasms commonly occur in people with MS. You may experience stiff joints or muscles as well as strong, painful jolting movements of the limbs. Back pain is common, but the legs suffer the most. Types of spasms related to MS include:
- Extensor spasticity is where the muscles become so tight that your limbs cannot bend or straighten.
- Flexor spasticity is where muscles behave opposite to extensor spasticity by bending and being unable to straighten.
- Trouble swallowing and slurred speech, especially in the later stages of the disease, can occur because of motor issues.
4. Bladder issues
A dysfunctional bladder is a common issue with MS. Bladder issues include—bladder retention, inability to hold urine, strong compulsions to urinate, and frequent urination. Symptoms related to the bladder are often manageable. Sometimes, MS patients experience loss of bowel control, diarrhea, or constipation.
5. Cognitive problems
Cognition is a variety of high-level brain functions, such as remembering details and learning, planning and solving problems, focusing, organizing, using and understanding language, shifting and maintaining attention, and performing calculations. Cognitive issues are common in MS, as more than 50% of people with MS develop problems with cognition. This can be the initial symptom of MS, although these functions may be impacted more than others:
- Processing information
- Concentration and attention
- Memory (retrieving, retaining, and acquiring new knowledge)
- Prioritizing and planning
- Verbal fluency
- Constructional abilities and visual perception
For most patients, cognitive function changes are mild and may affect one or two cognitive function areas. However, cognitive changes related to MS are more challenging for fewer people. Some functions, such as reading comprehension, conversational skills, long-term memory, and general intellect, are not usually affected by MS. If you notice changes in cognitive ability, compensatory tools and strategies can assist you in functioning effectively. But, it would be good to note that cognitive dysfunction is among the main reasons for early departure from work. In rare cases, mental problems become too severe for the individual to function independently.
MS is a severe disorder, but various MS treatment options can manage symptoms and slow its progression. The best thing is to seek medication attention when you notice the initial signs, especially if an immediate family member has the disorder.