How to Recognize Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disorder effecting the central nervous system. For reasons as yet unexplained, certain immune cells attack the protective coating around the nerves called myelin. The nerves then become inflamed producing a number of different symptoms, depending on the location in the brain or spinal column of the demyelinated nerves.
Recognize Primary Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Understand that the primary symptoms of multiple sclerosis are caused by the demyelination of nerves, resulting in the inflammation and potential loss of functioning in those nerves.
Know that optic neuritis (ON) is by far the most common form of exacerbation for patients presenting with multiple sclerosis. In ON, the optic nerve becomes inflamed from demyelination and can cause radical changes in vision including the loss of sight in the affected eye as well as eye pain and large patches of vision loss. ON is generally unilateral, effecting only one optic nerve at a time.
Recognize difficulty walking or frequent tripping as potential symptom of MS. Patients with MS may experience numbness and even paralysis in one side of their body or their legs or arms, depending on whether the spinal cord or the nerves in the brain are effected by demyelination.
Notice if the patient has balance issues or experiences vertigo. These, as well as loss of muscle coordination, may indicate the presence of MS.
Find that the most commonly felt symptom of MS is fatigue. Unlike common exhaustion from physical activity, MS fatigue is a deep physical and even mental exhaustion that is not alleviated by sleep or rest.
Recognize Secondary Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Realize that the demyelination of the nerves may lead to additional symptoms not directly related to the inflammation.
Find that frequent urinary tract or bladder infections may indicate an area of demyelination effected the muscles which control bladder function.