When you have multiple sclerosis (MS), your immune system attacks your central nervous system, affecting your brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms can vary, and come and go, making it sometimes hard to diagnose. You could have one symptom, and then months or years later have a completely different one, not realizing the two are related. In one study, people went an average of 7 years between their first MS symptom and their diagnosis.
For many people, the first symptom of multiple sclerosis is in their eyes. Often, MS causes optic neuritis, a condition that damages the nerve connecting the eye to the brain. It usually affects just one eye, but in rare cases it involves both. Symptoms include:
Another common early symptom of MS is extreme tiredness. You may feel exhausted even if you haven’t been very active. You may be tired as soon as you wake up in the morning.
When you exercise, you may get tired and weak as soon as your body warms. You may also have trouble controlling certain body parts, like your foot or leg, while your body is warmed up. As you rest and cool down, these symptoms are likely to go away.
MS can lead to worse coordination, making it hard to walk. Symptoms can include: