Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

The symptomatic spectrum of multiple sclerosis can be very diverse, involving different manifestations according to the affected body regions. Multiple sclerosis is an inflammatory neurological disease, causing dysfunctions mainly at the level of the central nervous system. Due to the fact that multiple sclerosis affects the nervous system, people with this form of neurological disease can in time experience symptoms in most innervated regions of the body.

Understanding Multiple Sclerosis | Brain Institute | OHSU

An estimated number of over 2 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis, while in the United States the disease affects around 350.000 people. For some reason, multiple sclerosis predominantly affects the female gender. Although the disease can also be developed by men, multiple sclerosis is very common in women. Another interesting characteristic of multiple sclerosis is that it commonly affects young people. The disease has the highest incidence in people with ages between 20 and 40, rarely affecting the elderly.

Multiple sclerosis involves damage of the nervous cells, destroying myelin, a substance that normally covers neurons. Myelin has a vital role in transmitting nervous impulses throughout the entire body, establishing connections between the neighboring nervous cells. When the layers of myelin are affected, nervous impulses travel at reduced speed between neurons and the body is unable to adequately respond to external stimuli.

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis are diversified and they can be perceived in different regions of the body. Most patients have individualized symptoms of multiple sclerosis, and they tend to occur in episodes, or “flares”. The evolution of multiple sclerosis is unpredictable, alternating between stages of remission and stages of relapse. Most people with multiple sclerosis experience intermittent, recidivating symptoms which amplify in the stages of recurrence. Considering the fact that the symptoms of multiple sclerosis are various and at certain stages of the disease unspecific, multiple sclerosis can’t be diagnosed only upon clinical manifestations. Multiple sclerosis is usually diagnosed upon laboratory tests, blood analyses and elaborate neurological examinations.

Common, generalized symptoms of multiple sclerosis are: pronounced fatigue, body weakness, sensations of tingling, burning, pain, itching and numbness of the muscles, loss of dexterity and uncoordinated body movement. Other physical symptoms of multiple sclerosis are: decreased vision, loss of mobility, shaking, spasms, tremors, poor balance, dizziness, vertigo. In later stages of the disease, the symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include partial paralysis, renal and gastrointestinal dysfunctions.

Neuropsychological symptoms of multiple sclerosis are: mental confusion; altered, inaccurate perceptions; poor concentration; short-term memory loss; compromised judgment and unpredictable, sudden changes of mood. A symptom of multiple sclerosis that commonly occurs in people with this form of neurological disease is depression. Most people affected by multiple sclerosis eventually become depressed and avoid any kind of interaction with other people.

Although many symptoms of multiple sclerosis can be very pronounced at certain stages of the disease, they can be alleviated through the means of medical treatment. Medical treatments available today are able to ease the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in the periods of relapse and in time they can even help the reconstruction of myelin, thus helping patients to recover from the disease. It is important to timely discover the symptoms of multiple sclerosis in order to begin the administration of an appropriate medical treatment before the disease becomes serious.

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