Cover image for the article Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Learn about all the symptoms and causes of MS

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis are many because it is a disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), so symptoms appear throughout the body. Follow us to know more.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are alarming to the patient and prevent him from practicing his daily life typically and push him into depression and isolation. The worst of them is that they are progressive and get more severe over time.

These symptoms occur in different parts of the body, but how does this happen, how do all these other symptoms belong to one disease, and what is multiple sclerosis? Here's the answer.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

The question about the symptoms of multiple sclerosis prompts us first to know the answer to a more comprehensive question - to explain to us how the symptoms occur in the first place - which is: what is the definition of multiple sclerosis disease?

What is multiple sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In the central nervous system, nerve fibers are surrounded by sheaths (similar to the principle of an electric wire enclosed in an insulating layer).

In this disease, the immune system in the body, due to a defect in it, attacks the sheaths of nerve fibers located in the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve (myelin sheath). Sometimes the nerve fibers themselves (axons of neurons) may be attacked.

This leads to a slowdown or interruption in the nerve signals transmitted through these fibers between the areas of the nervous system, and many symptoms appear according to the affected area in the patient's nervous system, which affects the performance of this device.

An image showing the mechanism of multiple sclerosis and how the body's immunity attacks the nerve fiber sheaths
The body's immunity attacks nerve fiber sheaths in multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease; therefore, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis will last for life. The appearance, development, and regression of symptoms vary according to the patient's type. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 20-40 and is more common among women.

What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?

Since Multiple Sclerosis (MS) will affect the central nervous system (affects the brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord), we expect multiple sclerosis symptoms to be comprehensive to the entire body or according to the affected area. First, we will mention the symptoms of multiple sclerosis and then detail them.

The first symptoms of multiple sclerosis

  • Multiple sclerosis often begins with the following symptoms:
  • Blurry and double vision
  • Eye pain and vision loss
  • difficulty walking
  • Numbness, tingling, and dysesthesia (a tingling, pins feeling in the hands or legs)

Other symptoms in MS

  • Generalized body fatigue and weakness
  • dizziness and lightheadedness
  • Hearing loss or impairment
  • Problems controlling bowel movements and stools
  • Muscle spasm and stiffness
  • Disorders of memory, thinking, concentration and attention
  • Disorder in thinking and planning
  • Depression
  • sexual disorders
  • Difficulty speaking and swallowing
Image showing symptoms of multiple sclerosis
Some symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Detailed symptoms of multiple sclerosis

We will now discuss the symptoms of MS in some detail.

Fatigue and tiredness

It is the most disturbing symptom for the patient because of his inability to perform the simplest tasks. The patient's weakness intensifies at the end of the day, in hot weather, after exercise and effort, and during illness.

vision problems

Vision disturbances are the first symptoms that appear among sclerosis symptoms, and they appear in a quarter of people with the disease (especially optic neuritis). In addition, it seems:

  • Eye pain, especially when moving it
  • Color Blindness
  • Vision loss lasting several days or weeks
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • Double vision
  • Involuntary movements in the eye

Muscle spasticity and movement disorders

Multiple sclerosis leads to a spasm in the body's muscles, which becomes stiff, making it difficult for the patient to perform everyday movements. Also, his walking becomes difficult, with tremors in his hands and difficulty in balance.

Pain and numbness

A patient with multiple sclerosis feels numbness in the extremities and trunk, lasting for several days, in addition to the pain, which is either due to damage to the nervous system (the patient feels a sense of stabbing in the face) or due to muscle spasms.

Memory, learning and planning disorders

These symptoms occur in many diseases other than multiple sclerosis, such as: Alzheimer or Parkinson'sHowever, it may be a symptom of multiple sclerosis and is known as cognitive dysfunction. Among these symptoms:

  • lack of attention
  • Short memory loss (the patient's long memory is not affected in MS)
  • learning problem
  • Inability to understand the information he is watching, such as understanding a map
  • Difficulty solving mathematical problems or puzzles

Symptoms of mental illness

Patients with multiple sclerosis commonly suffer from depression. It is unknown whether multiple sclerosis is a cause of depression in the patient or whether depression is caused by the patient's feeling of helplessness due to his chronic disease.

Multiple sclerosis patients also suffer from other psychological symptoms such as anxiety or mood swings (sometimes they laugh out loud, and sometimes they get sad or angry for no reason).

Sexual problems in multiple sclerosis

(Sclerosis and sexual intercourse) Since MS affects nerve centers randomly, areas responsible for sexual desire or sexual performance may be affected, whether in the brain or spinal cord.

This results in men with erectile dysfunction in addition to a delay in ejaculation, and sometimes they may lose the ability to ejaculate altogether. Still, women may lose the desire or develop vaginal dryness.

Urinary and fecal control disorder

Multiple sclerosis, due to its effect on the nerves that control the bladder, causes Neurogenic bladderIt is a disease that includes many symptoms of incontinence, such as urinary urgency or inability to empty urine.

People with multiple sclerosis also suffer from constipation. Because the immune system may affect the areas in the central nervous system responsible for the movement of the large intestine, causing a decrease in its motility and constipation.

Difficulty speaking and dysphagia

Multiple sclerosis may affect the areas innervated by the muscles of the larynx and pharynx in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which leads to inconsistent contraction, causing difficulty in speaking and swallowing.

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis during pregnancy

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis improve during pregnancy and reduce their severity a lot, especially in the last trimester (the last three months of pregnancy), but recurrence of symptoms occurs after childbirth. Therefore, a mother with MS after birth is covered with corticosteroids as a precaution for three months.

Types of MS

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is classified according to the pattern of appearance or remission of symptoms of multiple sclerosis into several types. In this article, we will talk about the three main types.

relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

In this type of MS disease, symptoms remission and recovery occurs for a certain period that may last for months or even years, then the disease relapses, and symptoms return to the patient as they were or worse.

It may gradually converge, and the periods of remission become shorter from time to time; that is, the relapse becomes more frequent and occurs until we reach the second type of multiple sclerosis.

Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis

This type of multiple sclerosis follows the previous class (in which there is remission and relapse). After several periods of remission and regression in the patient, the periods of remission disappear (i.e., the temporary recovery disappears), and the disease becomes progressive (increasing in severity and worsening its symptoms) without the patient improving for some time.

Primary progressive multiple sclerosis

In this type of MS disease, progression in symptoms begins immediately, and the patient's condition worsens day after day without periods of remission or noticeable improvement.

Causes of multiple sclerosis

Research is still ongoing to find out the leading cause of MS, as there must be a trigger for the immune system to form antibodies that attack the boy's fiber sheaths in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). However, some factors are accused of inciting the disease: (What is the cause of multiple sclerosis?)

  • genes
  • Sun exposure and vitamin D deficiency
  • countries in the far north
  • Tobacco Consumption
  • Obesity in adolescence
  • Infection with the Epstein-Barr virus
Image showing the main causes of multiple sclerosis, which are heredity, smoking and geographical location (it is more common the further north we go) and it is more common in females
The main causes of multiple sclerosis are heredity, smoking, and geographical location (it is more common the further north we go), and it is more common in females.

Follow us -We are Bimaristan Medical Center- in the next article to get to know Multiple sclerosis treatment With the latest methods, with the control of its symptoms, in addition to the means of diagnosing this chronic disease.


Sources:

  1. NHS
  2. Johns Hopkins
  3. WebMD

Frequently Asked Questions:

The average lifespan of multiple sclerosis patients is slightly lower than that of healthy people without sclerosis (their average lifespan is a few years less than that of other ordinary people).

Symptoms of an MS attack vary from person to person depending on which areas of the central nervous system are affected. Visual symptoms such as loss or double vision are often dominant. And sensory symptoms such as numbness and tingling, staggering while walking and general fatigue may occur and new symptoms differ from the previous attack.

The duration of the attack in MS varies from person to person and in the same person according to the severity of the disease progression (that is, according to how long the MS has lasted). In general, the attack in MS usually lasts between 24 hours or several days and may sometimes last weeks and even months.

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