Multiple sclerosis, MS for short, is a progressive disease affecting the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system – CNS). It is an autoimmune disease since the body’s immune system accidentally attacks the cells of the nervous system. Multiple sclerosis affects the central nervous system when the immune system attacks the myelin (protective) sheath that covers nerve fibres.
After the attack, the nerves eventually deteriorate and get permanently damaged. Symptoms of MS can flare up and disappear intermittently. It can even become more severe over time, followed by periods of less severe symptoms without asymptotic periods.
The first symptoms of MS for one person may never be experienced by someone else. This is why it’s advisable to make an appointment with a doctor if you experience any troubling symptoms.
The causes of multiple sclerosis are unknown. However, there are several risk factors;
Sex (women are two to three times more prone to develop the disease than men).
Age (MS commonly occurs between 20 and 40 but can occur at any age).
Smoking (smoking may increase the risk of developing MS).
Vitamin D deficiency (Low Vitamin D levels can increase the risk of MS).
This article highlights the early signs of multiple sclerosis, allowing you to recognize the disease’s likelihood in time. You can also get timely diagnosis and treatment to avoid permanent damage.
What are the early signs of multiple sclerosis?
MS presents differently for each individual. Some people may only have mild symptoms, while for others, it may be debilitating, losing the ability to speak, walk, read, or write. The early signs of multiple sclerosis are diverse, from balance and vision problems to numbness and tingling sensations and muscle pain and spasms.
Problems with balance
MS causes significant problems with physical coordination and disturbs the body’s balance and mobility. You’ll experience dizziness, vertigo, or light-headedness, usually appearing when you stand up and move.
The most common and earliest symptoms of MS are problems with vision. There is inflammation in the optic nerve, which disrupts central vision and causes blindness. It can likely result in double, blurred, or loss of sight. Vision degeneration usually takes a long time to manifest. Hence, you might not notice it immediately. Therefore, speak to a doctor if you notice any vision problems.
Numbness and tingling sensations
MS targets the message centre of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). It causes the brain to send conflicting or no signals around the body, causing tingling sensations and numbness. These sensations are one of the earliest warning signs of multiple sclerosis and mainly occur in fingers, arms, legs, and feet.
Muscle pain and spasms
In the early stages of MS, muscles and joints become stiff and move uncontrollably and painfully, causing chronic pain and involuntary spasms. Most people experience leg and back pain at some point in their lives.
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