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MS - What are Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

 


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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is thought to be an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS consists of the brain, spinal cord, and the optic nerves. A fatty tissue called myelin surrounds and protects the nerve fibers of the CNS, which helps nerve fibers conduct electrical impulses. With MS, myelin is lost in multiple areas, leaving scar tissue called sclerosis. These damaged areas are also known as plaques or lesions. The nerve fiber itself can also be damaged or broken.

Myelin protects nerve fibers and makes their job possible. When myelin and/or the nerve fiber are destroyed or damaged, the ability of the nerves to conduct electrical impulses to and from the brain is disrupted. This produces the various symptoms of multiple sclerosis including:

  • Changes in sensation (hypoesthesia)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abnormal muscle spasms, or difficulty in moving
  • Difficulties with coordination and balance (ataxia)
  • Problems in speech (dysarthria) or swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Visual problems such as blurred vision or involuntary rapid eye movement (nystagmus, optic neuritis, or diplopia)
  • Fatigue and acute or chronic pain syndromes
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Problems with *** function
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Mood swings
  • Increased susceptibility to clinical depression
  • Problems with memory, judgment, or reasoning (cognitive problems)
  • Partial or complete paralysis (in severe cases)

Symptoms of multiple sclerosis depend on which areas of the central nervous system have been attacked. The symptoms vary for those affected by the disease and also vary from time to time ranging from mild to severe. Generally, a person with MS will experience more than one symptom, but not all of them. The most common initial symptoms of multiple sclerosis are:

  • Changes in sensation in the arms, legs or face (33 percent)
  • Complete or partial vision loss (16 percent)
  • Weakness (13 percent)
  • Double vision (7 percent)
  • Unsteadiness when walking (5 percent)
  • Balance problems (3 percent)

Fifteen percent of individuals have multiple symptoms when they first seek medical attention. For some people, the initial MS attack is preceded by infection, trauma, or strenuous physical effort.

Hilary Basile is a writer for MyGuidesUSA.com. At http://www.myguidesusa.com you will find valuable tips and resources for handling life's major events. Whether you're planning a wedding, buying your first home, anxiously awaiting the birth of a child, contending with a divorce, searching for a new job, or planning for your retirement, you'll find answers to your questions at MyGuidesUSA.com.

Find information on the causes and risk factors of multiple sclerosis, MS symptoms, types of multiple sclerosis, diagnosing MS, and treatment and care of multiple sclerosis at http://multiplesclerosis.myguidesusa.com

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