Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a progressive autoimmune disorder that wears away at the coverings that protect the nerve cells. Affecting about 2.5 million people around the world, MS gradually weakens bodily function by attacking the cells of the brain and spinal column.
For some unknown reason, MS affects twice as many women as it does men, but heredity is the prime cause of vulnerability to this chronic disease and its unpredictable symptoms…
A constant tingling and numbness often resides in the face and extremities (i.e., the legs, arms, and fingers) of those with MS due to nerve cell damage to the brain and spinal column. This numbness is often linked to the fact that multiple sclerosis strikes the brain and spinal column (the body’s message center).
Unexplained muscle fatigue and muscle weakness, especially in the legs and feet, impact the majority of individuals with early MS. Fatigue will become more severe as the nerves of the spinal column degrade. According to the National MS Society, roughly 80-percent of patients with early stage MS experience this chronic fatigue and muscle weakness.
3. Vision Problems
One of the earliest signs of MS is problems with vision, which slowly degrades over time and is sometimes accompanied by eye pain. This is due to the inflammation of the optic nerve, a condition medically referred to as optic neuritis, which causes blurry vision in one or both eyes, and even color blindness.
4. Loss of Bowel & Bladder Control
According to the National MS Society, approximately 80-percent of MS patients have trouble with bowel and bladder control. Although loss of bladder control is the most common with patients suffering from urinary frequently and accidental urination, as well as explosive diarrhea and loss of bowel control.
5. Memory Loss
Because MS attacks the central nervous system, it’s common for those with more advanced MS to suffer from a combination of memory loss, inability to focus, and speech or language issues. According to the National MS Society, roughly 50-percent of those struggling with multiple sclerosis suffer impaired cognitive function.
6. Muscle Spasms
Jerky and spontaneous muscle spasms are one of the more visible and embarrassing symptoms of MS. Muscle spasms are often quite painful and can leave the extremities, such as the arms and legs, quite sore and stiff afterwards. According to research from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, chronic and painful muscle spasms are suffered by approximately 50-precent of all patients.
7. Sexual Dysfunction
Sex drive can also lessen and even disappear for those suffering with the stressful and unpredictable symptoms of MS. Sex also can become a challenge due to the deterioration of the central nervous system. According to research from the National MS Society, sexual arousal is largely controlled by the central nervous system with the brain receiving intital messages from the central nervous system and thus, sending signals out to the sexual organs via the nerves of the spinal cord.
In addition to cognitive impairment and memory issues, problems with balance and gait can become troublesome as MS degrades the nerve cells and challenges coordination and mobility. This explains why many MS patients suffer vertigo and walk using a cane for support.
Epileptic-type seizures are very common in patients with MS, most often from the development of lesions in the area of the brain known as the cerebral cortex, the outermost neural tissue that covers and protects the cerebrum, which is the largest part of the brain. In fact, according to a Italian study, published by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the risk of epilepsy is heightened in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Suffering with a debilitating condition like MS will often take its tool on a patient’s emotional health as well as their physical health, which explains why many MS sufferers battle with severe depression, irritability, and mood swings. This is why, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, depression and mood disorders are fairly common among MS patients.