Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that may affect individuals at any age from childhood to their 70s and 80s. However, it is typically diagnosed between 20 to 40 years of age and affects women more than men.
19 signs and symptoms of MS
Early signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) are not easy to recognize. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see people receiving a diagnosis years after the signs and symptoms have started. However, the first signs most often are vision problems. This specifically includes the eye condition known as optic neuritis, which causes blurred vision and a painful eye.
Signs and symptoms may vary greatly from person to person and include:
- Paresthesia (feeling of a burning sensation and numbness in the limbs)
- Muscle cramping
- Difficulty speaking
- Rapid involuntary movements of the eyes
- A tremor while trying to pick any object
- Facial weakness on both sides of the face
- Irregular twitching of the facial muscles
- Diplopia (double vision
- Heat intolerance
- Loss of bladder control
- Loss of bowel control
- Difficulty concentration
- Reduced attention span
- Impaired judgment and memory
MS can come in episodes (flare-ups), which means signs and symptoms may come and stay for a specific time and then disappear only to return after some period.
How is MS diagnosed?
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means doctors will first rule out other conditions before making their diagnosis because there is no specific test to confirm it.
Your doctor will ask you about your signs and symptoms, take your medical history, and perform a complete physical examination. They will order a few or all the tests that include:
- Blood tests: Blood tests help rule out other conditions that mimic MS and may include those that indicate infections in the brain or spinal cord.
- Spinal tap: It is also known as lumbar puncture and involves removing cerebrospinal fluid from the spinal cord and sending it to the laboratory for analysis. It shows up abnormalities such as antibodies related to MS, infections, and abnormalities found in other conditions that resemble MS.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): The MRI machine exposes your brain and spinal cord to a strong electromagnetic radiation field. Test results are presented in a film that shows characteristic changes in the affected areas of your brain and spinal cord that are typically found in MS.
- Evoked potential tests: This test involves connecting electrodes to your scalp or other areas to record electrical signals produced by your nervous system in response to stimuli. You will be asked to watch a moving picture or electric stimulus that may be applied to your body. The test then measures the time it takes for the nerves to respond to such visual or electrical stimulation.
How long can you live with MS?
Currently, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis (MS). However, treatments can slow down its progression and help improve your quality of life.
Most people live a normal life span just like people without the condition. For others, survival years may decrease by 5 to 10 years. In the absence of treatment, the condition can lead to physical disability within 20 to 25 years after its onset.
Death in MS usually occurs not directly due to MS but due to complications that result from immobility, chronic urinary tract infections, and extreme difficulty swallowing and breathing. The most common complications that turn life-threatening for you include chronic bedsores, widespread infection, and pneumonia.
Multiple sclerosis. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1146199-overview
Multiple sclerosis. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-sclerosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20350269
Top What Is the Average Age at Which MS Is Diagnosed Related Articles
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) vs. ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis)ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) are both diseases of the nervous system (neurodegenerative). ALS is a disease in which the nerve cells in the body are attacked by the immune system, although it's not considered an autoimmune disease by some scientists. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the insulated covering of the nerves (myelin sheath) in the CNS (central nervous system) degenerate, or deteriorate.
Scientists don't know the exact cause of either problem. However, they have discovered that mutations in the gene that produces the SOD1 enzyme were associated with some cases of familial ALS. Scientists also theorize that multiple sclerosis may be caused by infection or vitamin D deficiency. ALS occurs between 50-70 years of age (the average age of occurrence ALS is 55), and mostly affects men. While MS occurs between 20-60 years of age, and mostly affects women. About 30,000 people in the US have ALS, and an average of 5,000 new diagnoses per year (that's about 15 new cases per week). Worldwide, MS affects more than 2.3 million people, with about 10,000 new cases diagnosed each year (that's about 200 new diagnoses per week).
Some of the signs and symptoms of both diseases include muscle weakness, muscle spasms, problems walking, fatigue, slurred speech, and problems swallowing. ALS signs and symptoms that are different from MS include problems holding the head upright, clumsiness, muscle cramps and twitches, problems holding objects, and uncontrollable periods of laughing or crying. MS signs and symptoms that are different from ALS include vision problems, vertigo and balance problems, sexual problems, memory problems, depression, mood swings, and digestive problems.
There is no cure for either disease, however the prognosis and life expectancy are different. Multiple sclerosis is not a fatal condition, while ALS progresses rapidly and leads to death.
Alternative Treatment (CAM) for MSThe term alternative therapy, in general, is used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not been scientifically documented or identified as safe or effective for a specific condition. Alternative therapy encompasses a variety of disciplines that range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning to lifestyle changes.
Botox to Treat Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Botulinum toxin is a muscle-relaxing medication used to decrease spasticity related to multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. Botulinum toxin is derived from the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. There are three types of botulinum toxin available for therapeutic use.
Can Stress Cause Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?Multiple sclerosis (MS) results when your immune system attacks the cells of the brain and spinal cord. It is an autoimmune disease, a condition in which the body's immune system is misdirected and attacks its own cells. Stress can make it difficult for a person to manage MS symptoms. Regular exercise and mindful eating have been found to control the stress levels and overall health of people with MS.
Is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Contagious?Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a degenerative disease of the covering around the nerves in the central nervous system (CNS). Researchers and doctors don't know the exact cause, but many theorize that it may be due to environmental triggers, an autoimmune disease, and viruses (infections). Symptoms and signs of MS include vision changes, paralysis, vertigo, heat intolerance, slurred speech, sexual dysfunction, and urinary incontinence (the inability to urinate). There's no vaccine or cure for MS, but the progression and symptoms of the disease can be treated.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms and TreatmentsMultiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between ages 20-40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
Making an MS Friendly HomeAdults with multiple sclerosis may be at risk for injuries, hazards, and falling at home. Some simple home modifications can protect your health and safety and facilitate fall prevention. Reduce your risk of accidents and prevent hazards with these tips.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and PregnancyMultiple sclerosis or MS is a central nervous system disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath (the protective coating around nerves). Symptoms of MS include pain, sexual problems, fatigue, numbness and tingling, emotional changes, and depression.
Women who are pregnant and have multiple sclerosis may have more difficulty carrying a pregnancy. Multiple sclerosis does not affect ability to conceive, and does not seem to affect fertility. MS symptoms during pregnancy may stay the same or get better; however, they may worsen after giving birth. Pregnancy decreases the number of relapses, but flares increase in the first 3-6 months after delivery. Pregnant women with MS may carrying a pregnancy more difficult to tell when labor starts, and there is an increased need to use forceps or vacuum to assist with delivery or b7 C-section (Cesarean birth) increases.
Some treatment MS drugs may be safe to use during pregnancy; however, some drugs should not be taken, for example, baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), or solifenacin succinate (VESIcare), and most disease-modifying therapies (DMTs).
Talk with your healthcare team about vitamins, supplements, and medications that you are taking if you are pregnant and have MS.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Early Warning Signs and TypesMultiple sclerosis (MS) can be thought of as an immune-mediated inflammatory process involving different areas of the central nervous system (CNS) at various points in time. Early warning signs and symptoms of MS in children, teens, and adults are similar; however, children and teens with pediatric also may have seizures and a complete lack of energy. Adults with MS do not have these signs and symptoms. Other signs and symptoms of MS include inflammation of the optic nerve (optic neuritis), changes in vision, Wiping or having tissues around the eye and moving the eye may be painful, and double vision. There are four types of MS, relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), secondary progressive MS (SPMS), primary progressive MS (PPMS), and progressive relapsing MD (PRMS).
MS QuizMultiple Sclerosis is a debilitating neurological condition. Take the MS Quiz to test your knowledge of the causes, symptoms, risks and treatments.
Famous Faces of MSLearn about celebrities, such as Montel Williams and Jack Osbourne, who are living with multiple sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms PictureSymptoms of multiple sclerosis may be single or multiple and may range from mild to severe in intensity and short to long in duration. See a picture of Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms and learn more about the health topic.
Multiple Sclerosis: Signs of Multiple Sclerosis RelapseSigns of an MS relapse can vary in type and intensity. This WebMD slideshow lists some of the more common relapse symptoms.
Who Is at High Risk for Multiple Sclerosis?The cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) is not known. But scientists believe that a combination of various factors may put an individual at a higher risk for MS. These factors include immunologic factors, environmental factors, low vitamin D levels, smoking, obesity, Epstein-Barr virus, genetics, and the female gender.