Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disorder which is immune mediated. Immune mediated is when that system in your body that is supposed to keep your body healthy ends up attacking parts of the body that essential for everyday functioning. This happens as nerve cells progressively wear out their protective covering which in turn reduces the efficiency with which the brain and the spinal cord function. It has unpredictable symptoms each of which vary in intensity from person to person. Some people experience tingling sensations while others have paralysis, for instance.
Early signs of multiple sclerosis include a variety of visual, neurological, muscular, sexual and cognitive issues, to name a few:
One of the early and more common symptoms of multiple sclerosis is visual problems caused by inflammation of the optic nerve. It leads to loss of vision in extreme cases, blurred vision or double vision. The degeneration of vision is not immediately apparent as it is always a gradual process. Loss of vision can also be accompanied by pain. The body’s message center is also affected thanks to nerve damage in the brain and spinal cord resulting in scrambled messages to and fro the brain and the target nerve. These result in tingling sensations. When messages cannot be sent at all, it results in numbness. Muscle spasms and chronic pain are another early warning sign of multiple sclerosis, affecting almost half of those with the disorder. Stiff muscles and joints and painful jerks affect the back and the legs especially. When the nerves begin to degenerate, it causes chronic fatigue. Unexplained fatigue is an early warning sign affecting about 80 percent of those with the disorder, most obvious in the legs.
Another early warning sign of multiple sclerosis is problems with coordination, maintaining balance and dizziness. Bladder and bowel issues are also common, with incontinence, frequent urination, constipation being the most frequent signs. Fifty percent of those with multiple sclerosis have cognitive problems that include short attention spans, memory problems, and language problems. Other early warning signs include, commonly, sexual dysfunction, depression, and, more rarely, hearing loss, seizures, slurred speech, trouble swallowing and breathing problems.