Neuro-immunology is the part of Neuroscience that deals with immunological aspects of normal and abnormal functions in the body. Multiple Sclerosis MS) is one of such disorders.
The Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis are so diverse that sometimes, even an expert can get distracted. Gulf Neurology Center follows an established and updated diagnostic criteria for the diagnosis and treatment of MS. However, normal tests and lack of objective findings does not rule out MS and clinical findings become the decision maker. The following information may better help understand the basics of Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis: Recognizing Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple Sclerosis symptoms generally appear between the ages of 20 and 40. The onset of MS may be dramatic or so mild that a person doesn’t notice any symptoms until far later in the course of the disease.
The most common early symptoms of MS:
- Loss Of Balance
- Weakness in one or more limbs
- Blurred or double vision or visual impairment
Less common symptoms of MS:
- Slurred Speech
- Sudden Onset Of Paralysis
- Lack Of Coordination
- Cognitive Difficulties
As the disease progresses other symptoms may include muscle spasms, sensitivity to heat, fatigue, changes in thinking or perception, and sexual disturbances.
- Fatigue: this is the most common symptom of MS. It is typically present in the mid afternoon and may consist of increased muscle weakness, mental fatigue, sleepiness, or drowsiness.
- Heat Sensitivity: heat sensitivity (the appearance or worsening of symptoms when exposed to heat such as a hot shower) occurs in most people with MS.
- Spasticity: muscle spasms are a common and often debilitating symptom of MS. Spasticity usually affects the muscles of the legs and arms. It may interfere with a persons ability to move their muscles freely.
- Dizziness: Many people with MS complain of feeling “off balance” or lightheaded. Occasionally they may experience the feeling that they or their surroundings are spinning. This is called vertigo. These symptoms are caused by damage within the complex nerve pathways that coordinate vision and other inputs into the brain that are needed to maintain balance.
- Impaired Thinking: problems with thinking occur in almost half of the people with MS. For most, this means slowed thinking, decreased concentration, or decreased memory. Approximately 10% of the people with this disease have severe impairments that significantly impairs their ability to carry out tasks of daily living.
- Vision Problems: vision impairments are relatively common in people with MS. In fact, one vision problem is optic neuritis. Optic Neuritis occurs in 55% of the people with MS. However, most vision impairments do not lead to blindness.
Other Symptoms associated with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
- Abnormal sensations: many people with MS experience abnormal sensations such as “pins and needles”, numbness, itching, burning, stabbing, or tearing pains. Fortunately, most of these symptoms, while aggravating, are not life-threatening or debilitating and can be managed or treated.
- Speech and swallowing problems: people with MS often have swallowing difficulties. In many cases, they are associated with speech problems as well. They are caused by damaged nerves that normally aid in performing these tasks.
- Difficulty walking: gait disturbance is the most common symptom of MS. This problem is mostly related to muscle weakness and/or spasticity. Having balance problems or numbness in your feet can also make walking difficult.
- Other rare symptoms include breathing problems and seizures.
What Are The Types Of Symptoms?
It is helpful to divide the symptoms into three categories: Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary.
Primary Symptoms are a direct result of the demyelination process. This impairs the transmission of electrical signals to the muscles (to allow them to move appropriately) and the organs of the body (allowing them to perform normal functions). Primary symptoms include: weakness, tremors, tingling, numbness, loss of balance, vision impairment, paralysis, and bladder or bowel problems. The use of medication, rehabilitation, and other treatments can help keep many of these symptoms under control.
Secondary Symptoms are a result from Primary Symptoms. For example, paralysis (a primary symptom) can lead to bedsores (pressure sores) and bladder or urinary incontinence problems can cause frequent, recurring urinary tract infections. Secondary Symptoms can be treated, but the ideal goal is to avoid them by treating the primary symptoms.
Tertiary Symptoms are the social, psychological and vocational complications associated with the primary and secondary symptoms. For example, people with MS often suffer from depression which is considered to be a tertiary symptom.
What Causes MS Symptoms?
Demyelination, or deterioration of the protective sheath that surrounds the nerve fibers, can occur in any part of the brain or spinal cord. People with MS experience different symptoms based on the area affected. Demyelination in the nerves that send impulses to the muscles, tend to cause issues associated with movement (motor symptoms). Demyelination along the nerves that carry sensory impulses to the brain, causes disturbances in sensation (sensory symptoms).
Are The Symptoms The Same In Every Person?
Multiple Sclerosis follows a varied and unpredictable course. In many people, the disease starts with a single symptom, followed by months even years without any progression of symptoms. In others, the symptoms can become worse within weeks or possibly months.
It is important to understand that although a wide range of symptoms can occur, any given individual may experience only some of the symptoms and never have others. Some symptoms may occur once, resolve, and never return. Because MS is such an individualized disease, it is not helpful to compare yourself with other people who have MS.
Reviewed by the Doctors at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Research at the Cleveland Clinic.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
MS Patient Circle:
Some of our patients have started a support group in the area and have been using an office within our Medical Complex. This support group is available to patients from all over the gulf coast region. Coordinators are selected by the patients. The meetings are planned and arranged by the group. For additional information on how to become involved please contact Crystal via email at email@example.com