Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disorder that causes the immune system to mistakenly attack your body’s nervous system. More specifically, the immune system attacks the protective cover of nerve fibers, which can cause communication issues between your brain and other parts of your body. If allowed to progress, the disease can result in permanent damage to your nervous system.
There is currently no cure for multiple sclerosis and current treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the disease and improving symptoms. As such, early diagnosis and treatment are paramount, so you should be aware of the early warning signs.
The specific symptoms of multiple sclerosis can vary from person to person, and there are currently no specific laboratory tests that confirm or deny the presence of the disease. Instead, doctors will review your symptoms and medical history and perform various tests to determine if you are affected by multiple sclerosis.
Early warning signs for multiple sclerosis include:
- Vision Difficulties: Unexplained vision difficulties such as seeing double, blurred vision, or loss of vision can be signs that your optic nerve is becoming inflamed, a common symptom of multiple sclerosis.
- Muscle Spasms or Stiffness: Other common symptoms of multiple sclerosis include muscle stiffness or uncontrollable and painful spasms or jerking movements of the arms and legs.
- Numbness or Tingling: As multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the nervous system, your nerves can become damaged. You may not feel (numbness) or have conflicting signals (tingling) in parts of your body.
- Vertigo or Dizziness: Balance issues are common with multiple conditions and diseases, including multiple sclerosis. This can have you feeling dizzy or lightheaded and often occurs after you stand up.
- Bladder Control Issues: Approximately 80% of people affected by multiple sclerosis have dysfunctional bladder symptoms including inability to hold urine, feeling like you have to urinate often, or strong urges to urinate.
- Memory and Attention Span Difficulties: People with multiple sclerosis often have difficulties with their attention span, organization, short or long term memory, and even difficulty speaking.
- Depression and Other Emotional Changes: Severe depression, mood swings, or irritability are common symptoms for people affected by multiple sclerosis. The emotion difficulties can even include unexplained laughter or crying.
Contact Regional Neurological Associates
At our New York practice, based in the Bronx with satellites throughout Westchester and Manhattan, the board-certified physicians at Regional Neurological Associates manage a range of neurologic conditions including multiple sclerosis. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call (718) 515-4347 to schedule an appointment.