What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It is a chronic disease characterized by the inflammation and deterioration of the myelin sheath, which covers the nerve fibers of the spinal cord and brain. This, along with the damage inflicted on the underlying nerve, interferes with the transmission of electrical signals from the CNS to the rest of the body. The symptoms of MS can vary widely from patient to patient. Some symptoms, such as visual disturbances and personality changes, may be severe enough to send the patient to the emergency care department. Although MS is currently incurable, the neurology specialists at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center can help patients manage their symptoms.

Most Common Symptoms

A person’s MS symptoms can change over time . Some people may experience many symptoms, while others only report having a few of them. The most common symptoms of MS include fatigue and other problems that can contribute to walking difficulties, such as:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Poor coordination
  • Impaired balance

Patients may have dizziness, impaired vision, pain with eye movement, paralysis, bladder problems, and bowel problems. Additionally, MS symptoms may include confusion, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, depression, and impaired concentration.

Less Common Symptoms

It is possible, although less common, for patients with MS to report breathing problems, headaches, hearing loss, tremors, and seizures. Other less common symptoms of MS may include:

  • Speech problems (dysarthria and dysphonia)
  • Swallowing problems (dysphagia)
  • Pruritis (itching and “pins and needles” sensation)

Secondary Symptoms

Secondary symptoms are not caused by the disease itself; rather, they are the complications that may occur because of the primary symptoms. These might include pressure ulcers, which can be caused by paralysis. Problems with physical movement may also cause disuse weakness, decreased bone density, and the loss of muscle tone. If bladder dysfunction occurs, the patient may suffer from repeated urinary tract infections.

The Multiple Sclerosis Clinic at Nevada Neurosciences Institute provides extensive patient and family education, a monthly support group with a neurologist, and ongoing research initiatives to facilitate new medication development for individuals with MS. If you would like a physician referral, you can contact Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center of Las Vegas at (702) 233-5300. Our community hospital is also pleased to provide exceptional emergency care, stroke care, and heart health services.

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