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Does slurred speech mean I have multiple sclerosis (MS)?

ANSWER

Multiple sclerosis can damage the part of your brain that controls speech. Here are the main symptoms:

  • Slurred words
  • Nasal speech, or sounding like you have a cold
  • Long pauses between words or syllables, called scanning speech

If you drink too much alcohol, your speech might be slurred for a little while. However, if the problem comes out of nowhere, call for help right away. It could be a sign of a brain injury or stroke.

SOURCES:

Britt Stone, MD, neurologist, Baylor Scott & White Health, Round Rock, Texas.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “What is MS?” “Fatigue,” “Vision problems,” “Speech problems,” “Pain.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page,” “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Multiple sclerosis: Q&A,” “Avoiding dehydration, proper hydration,” “Dizziness,” “Aging and Your Eyes,” “Acute vs. chronic pain.”

American Diabetes Association: “Peripheral Neuropathy.”

National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease: “Hypoglycemia.”

CDC: “Postural hypotension: What it is and how to manage it.”

Nahin, R. The Journal of Pain, August 2015.

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on September 14, 2020

SOURCES:

Britt Stone, MD, neurologist, Baylor Scott & White Health, Round Rock, Texas.

National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “What is MS?” “Fatigue,” “Vision problems,” “Speech problems,” “Pain.”

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “NINDS Multiple Sclerosis Information Page,” “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Multiple sclerosis: Q&A,” “Avoiding dehydration, proper hydration,” “Dizziness,” “Aging and Your Eyes,” “Acute vs. chronic pain.”

American Diabetes Association: “Peripheral Neuropathy.”

National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease: “Hypoglycemia.”

CDC: “Postural hypotension: What it is and how to manage it.”

Nahin, R. The Journal of Pain, August 2015.

Reviewed by Christopher Melinosky on September 14, 2020

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