Its cause continues to be unknown, but impacting over a million people within the U.S. alone, multiple sclerosis can result in a wide and unpredictable variety of symptoms and severity. What we do know is that women are more likely to develop MS, and that each person will experience it differently, with signs and symptoms changing and evolving throughout the further advancement of the disease.
Managing multiple sclerosis is often rather complicated, but it is easier to manage when you understand the signs and symptoms to watch for and stay in communication with your healthcare team regarding any changes noted, to allow for the most effective treatment option.
To that end, we have compiled several of the most typical as well as outlying symptoms that an individual with MS can experience:
- Weakness and fatigue. Up to eight out of every 10 MS patients report substantial fatigue that interferes with their daily activities.
- Challenges with walking. MS can cause injury to the nerves that stimulate muscles, and when combined with fatigue, reduction in balance, and other factors, walking turns out to be a challenge.
- Tingling/numbness. One of the initial telltale indications of MS, numbness and/or tingling can occur throughout the body, including the face, arms and legs.
- Difficulties with vision. Blurred vision, pain, or difficulties with contrast and colors is also an initial symptom for many, and warrants an immediate appointment with the eye doctor.
- Spasticity. Spasticity is the feeling of muscle spasms and/or stiffness, and occurs most commonly in the legs.
- Bowel/bladder problems. Constipation and bladder dysfunction, while extremely common, can typically be remedied with medications, diet, physical exercise, and hydration.
- Dizziness. Many people with multiple sclerosis report lightheadedness, dizziness, or, less frequently, vertigo – the sensation of the room spinning around you.
- Shifts in cognitive ability. About 50% of those with MS experience changes to brain functionality, such as information processing, short-term memories, focus, and the ability to accurately perceive their environment.
- Depression and other emotional changes. Either from the pressure of managing the condition or from neurological changes, those with MS most often experience depression in its most severe form – clinical depression – and may also endure mood swings, uncontrollable laughing or crying, and increased irritability.
Less Frequent Symptoms
- Issues with speaking or swallowing. Slurring words and speaking in a lower tone of voice, along with problems with swallowing, may be the consequence of nerve damage in the mouth and throat muscles, and can be more serious during times of fatigue.
- Seizures and tremors. While rare, seizures can occur as a result of either scarring in the brain or abnormal electrical discharges. Tremors might be noticeable as well because of nerve damage.
- Loss of hearing. Although another rare symptom, impacting only about 6% of MS patients, hearing loss is frequently one of the first symptoms reported.
- Trouble with breathing. When chest muscles are weakened because of nerve damage, difficulties with breathing can happen.
At Morning Glory Home Care, we are an integral part of the healthcare team of our clients with multiple sclerosis, and can provide many types of assistance to those with this chronic health condition. Email or call us today at 618-667-8400 for a free in-home consultation for more information on our compassionate care team and our experienced home health care in Alton, IL and the surrounding communities.