Recognizing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms
Common Symptoms of MS continued...
Speech problems: Sometimes MS can cause people to pause a long time in between words and have slurred or nasal speech. Some people also develop swallowing problems in more advanced stages of MS.
Thinking problems: About half of people with MS have trouble concentrating that comes and goes. For most, this means slowed thinking, poor attention, or fuzzy memory. Rarely, people can have severe problems that make it hard to do daily tasks. MS usually does not change your intellect and ability to read and understand conversation.
Tremors: About half of people with MS have tremors. They can be minor shakes or make it hard to manage everyday activities.
Vision problems: Problems with your eyes tend to be one of the first symptoms. They usually affect only one eye and go away on their own. Your sight may be blurry, gray, or have a dark spot in the center. You may suddenly have eye pain and temporary vision loss.
Very rarely, people with MS may have breathing problems or seizures.
What Causes MS Symptoms?
Doctors divide the symptoms into three groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary.
Primary symptoms come from damage to the protective sheath around the nerves in your spine or brain. The damage is called demyelination. It causes scarring, which makes it harder for signals to travel between the brain and the body.
This process can lead to bladder or bowel problems, loss of balance, numbness, paralysis, tingling, tremors, vision problems, or weakness.
Medicine, physical therapy, and other treatments can keep many of these problems under control.
Secondary symptoms follow the main problems of MS. For instance, not being able to empty your bladder can lead to a bladder infection.
Doctors can treat secondary symptoms, but the goal is to avoid them by treating the primary symptoms.
Tertiary symptoms are the social, psychological, and job-related problems of coping with MS. For instance, if MS makes it hard for you to walk or drive, you may not be able to do your job well.
Because MS varies so much, it's best not to compare yourself with other people who have MS. Your experience is likely to be different. Most people learn to manage their symptoms and can keep leading full, active lives.