Signs & Symptoms of Muscular Sclerosis Disease

Signs & Symptoms of Muscular Sclerosis Disease
Signs & Symptoms of Muscular Sclerosis Disease (Image: Paul Barker:

The symptoms of muscular sclerosis (MS) often develop between the ages of 20 and 40 years and are more prevalent in women than men. The University of California, San Francisco, reports that muscular sclerosis is diagnosed through patient evaluation and the presence of symptoms as well as diagnostic testing. The causes of MS are unknown, and unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. But, there are treatments that are available to help relieve the symptoms.

What is Muscular Sclerosis?

Muscular sclerosis (MS) is a disease that is associated with debilitating symptoms that are caused by the body's immune system. The immune system attacks the nervous system resulting in the deterioration of the nerves and their protective covering (myelin). As a result, difficulties walking and speaking often develop, which are irreversible. The MayoClinic explains that muscular sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms have no specific pattern of development and are different in every individual.

The Muscles

According to Bayer HealthCare, muscle weakness and rigidity are symptoms of muscular sclerosis that affect range of motion and mobility. The weakness that is associated with muscular sclerosis can also lead to a condition known as "ataxia," which causes coordination problems and clumsy behavior. Patients who are diagnosed with muscular sclerosis may also feel heaviness in their limbs, making it difficult to use their arms and legs.


Vision problems are common in patients who have muscular sclerosis; especially, blurred or double vision symptoms. Abnormal eye movements and pupil responses may also be exhibited by MS patients along with the development of optic neuritis. All About Muscular Sclerosis explains that optic neuritis (ON) is an inflammation of the optic nerve that can sometimes cause eye pain and partial blindness. Dyschromatopsia is also a symptom of muscular sclerosis and involves the eye's ability to see colors. Patients who develop dyschromatopsia will often notice a reduction in the ability to view colors, especially reds.

Cognitions and Emotions

According to the National Muscular Sclerosis Society, the term "cognition" describes how a person learns and uses language as well as how he organizes his thoughts, solves problems and views his environment. Unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of the people who are diagnosed with the muscular sclerosis disease will develop problems with cognition that are significant enough to negatively affect their daily lives. As a result, MS patients may also develop emotional symptoms that may include mood swings and depression.

Advanced Symptoms

In the advanced stages of muscular sclerosis, patients may begin to experience acute pain that is intense at times and brought on suddenly by unknown triggers. Cedar Sinai reports that muscle stiffness and the inability to control movements may also begin to manifest in combination with uncontrolled shaking. Incontinence, bowel disorders and impotence are also late-stage symptoms.

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