Its cause continues to be unknown, but impacting over a million people within the United States alone, multiple sclerosis may cause an extensive and unpredictable range of symptoms and severity. What we do know is that women are much more likely to be diagnosed with MS, and that every person will experience it differently, with signs and symptoms changing and evolving during the progression of the disease.
Managing multiple sclerosis symptoms can be quite difficult, but easier when you are aware of what to watch for and stay in communication with your healthcare team with regard to any changes noted, to allow for the most effective treatment option.
To that end, we’ve gathered some of the more typical along with outlying multiple sclerosis symptoms that someone may experience:
- Weakness and fatigue. Approximately 8 out of every 10 MS patients report considerable fatigue that interferes with their daily activities.
- Difficulties with walking. MS can cause damage to the nerves that stimulate muscles, and when coupled with fatigue, loss of balance, and other factors, walking becomes a challenge.
- Numbness/tingling. One of the first telltale symptoms of MS, tingling and/or numbness can take place throughout the body, including the legs, arms and face.
- Issues with vision. Pain, blurred vision, or difficulties with colors and contrast is also an initial symptom for many, and requires an immediate trip to the eye doctor.
- Spasticity. Spasticity is the feeling of muscle spasms and/or stiffness, and occurs most frequently in the legs.
- Bladder/bowel problems. Constipation and bladder dysfunction, while extremely common, can typically be remedied with medications, diet, physical exercise, and hydration.
- Dizziness. Many people with multiple sclerosis report lightheadedness, dizziness, or, less frequently, vertigo – the sensation of the room spinning around you.
- Changes to cognitive ability. About half of individuals with MS experience changes to brain functionality, such as information processing, short-term memories, focus, and the ability to accurately perceive their environment.
- Depression as well as other emotional changes. Either from the pressure of managing the disease or from neurological changes, people who have MS most often experience depression in its most severe form – clinical depression – and may also endure swift changes in moods, uncontrollable laughing or crying, and increased irritability.
Less Common Symptoms
- Issues with speaking or swallowing. Slurring words and speaking in a lower tone of voice, as well as issues with swallowing, can be the outcome of nerve damage in the mouth and throat muscles, and that can be worse during times of fatigue.
- Seizures and tremors. While rare, seizures may occur as a result of either scarring within the brain or abnormal electrical discharges. Tremors may be noticeable as well due to nerve damage.
- Loss of hearing. Although another infrequent symptom, impacting only about 6% of MS patients, hearing loss is often one of the first symptoms reported.
- Trouble with breathing. When chest muscles are weakened because of nerve damage, issues with breathing may appear.
At Compassionate Nursing Services, we’re an important part of the healthcare team of our clients with multiple sclerosis, and can assist those with this chronic disease in a variety of ways. Email or call us today at 314-432-4312 for a complimentary in-home assessment to learn more about our compassionate caregivers who provide dedicated respite care in Creve Coeur and throughout the surrounding communities. To find out if our services are available in your area, please visit our Service Area page.