What are the Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

What are the Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, approximately one million people live with multiple sclerosis (MS) in the United States. The earliest symptoms of MS can be subtle and often hard to detect, but it is important to catch them as early as possible for effective treatment. Fortunately, your trusted neurologist, Dr. David Rabinovici can help relieve symptoms and delay disease progression.

Below are the early signs to look out for multiple sclerosis.

Vision Problems

One of the earliest signs of MS is vision problems. These include vision loss or blurred double vision. Eye problems mostly occur due to optic neuritis, which is the inflammation of the optical nerve. In some rare cases, you might experience double vision or eye movement problems if there is damage to the cranial nerve. Eye problems might be detected immediately or happen gradually over time. For instance, if you have optic neuritis, you will feel pain when you look up and down or to the side.

Numbness or Tingling

Another initial symptom of MS is a tingling sensation. This sensation usually occurs suddenly and lasts for hours or days. In some cases, it might be accompanied by numbness, which is the lack of certain sensations like pain or temperature changes.

These feelings occur because MS damages the nerves in the spinal cord and brain, which are the body’s message centers. Demyelination can affect the sensory nerves in your spinal cord, making you insensitive when you touch something. This is because the myelin sheath protecting nerve cells is damaged, disrupting the transmission of signals. You can experience numbness in your fingers, legs, arms and face.

Fatigue and Weakness

People with MS usually experience an overwhelming sense of fatigue as one of their earliest symptoms. The fatigue can be so extreme that it interferes with your daily activities, making it difficult to perform simple tasks like cooking or cleaning. Fatigue is caused by inflammation and lesions in the brain, which can cause the immune system to work overtime in an effort to repair the damage. The fatigue might appear suddenly and last for several weeks.

Balance and Coordination Problems

The disruption of signals traveling between your brain and spinal cord can lead to coordination and balance problems. This can cause a lack of sensation in the lower body or make it difficult for you to walk properly. You might also have balance problems due to dizziness. With MS, you will likely feel lightheaded or like the room is spinning (vertigo) when standing up. This feeling will make it difficult to stand or walk without assistance.

Recognizing the early symptoms of MS is important since it helps you seek medical care and begin early treatment, which increases treatment outcomes. While the warning symptoms might vary from person to person, it is vital to seek a diagnosis when you suspect something is not okay with your health. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult your trusted neurologist at NY Neurology Associates.



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