Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that sometimes takes longer to diagnose because it shares symptoms with many other conditions.
Below are some of the most commonly observed symptoms associated with MS, however, you should keep in mind that only your doctor is able to conduct proper testing and render a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, as the following symptoms relate to other conditions as well.
Speech disorders: It’s estimated that over 40% of people affected with multiple sclerosis have difficulties with speech or their voice. Among the problems that MS can cause both to speech and voice is dysarthria, a motor speech malfunction that results in slurring, less articulated words and inconstant speech volume (too loud or too soft). Patients can also experience alterations related with voice quality, such as starting to sound more nasal or hoarse — a problem known as dysphonia.
Cognitive dysfunction: Numbers show that over 60% of MS patients experience some sort of cognitive dysfunction, a symptom that only affects specific areas of the brain. In some cases, recent and working memory will be affected, while in other cases the disease can interfere with the speed needed for the patient to process information. Another issue associated with cognitive dysfunction is having difficulties focusing or multi-tasking. Cognitive-related symptoms usually progress slowly, but most are irreversible.
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Sexual problems: Multiple sclerosis is related with three kinds of sexual problems. Direct neurological damage to the nervous system is the first of those problems, which results in the loss of sensation, less lubrication, and incapacity to reach orgasm in women. Men can experience sensory variations, erectile dysfunction, and achieving orgasm. MS may also affect sexual interaction due to the use of MS treatments that interfere with sexual function, and because MS patients often experience fatigue or be concerned about bladder control.
Vision complications: Vision problems, one of the most common early MS symptoms, can occur in the form of double vision, blurred vision, eye pain, or a scotoma (a kind of degenerated visual acuity). Problems with the eyes and vision might be a consequence of optic nerve inflammation or optic neuritis. These symptoms usually resolve themselves, but in the interim interfere with everyday tasks, from working to driving.
Numbness: Lacking sense in some parts of the body or feeling numb is one of the first symptoms often noticied by most MS patients. Numbness can affects any part of the body, face, arms and legs, and it restricts functions like walking, grabbing objects, or even chewing food. The felling of numbness may evolve for hours and days, but in most cases it decreases on its own.
Balance and coordination difficulties: Multiple Sclerosis is highly associated with motion and movement problems. When nerve conduction is affected, muscles will not able to act normally or like they used to behave. This means that people with MS can feel unexpectedly weak in one arm or leg, or will notice that objects slip from their hands more easily. When the part of the brain responsible for balance – the cerebellum – is affected, MS patients might become less steady on their feet and become more predisposed to to fall.
Again, even if you present with most or all of these symptoms, only a doctor can make an official MS diagnosis and put you on the path toward effective Multiple Sclerosis management or treatment. However, being aware of these MS symptoms is the first step in answering if you could possibly have the disease.
Note: BioNews Texas does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.