Its cause is still unknown, but impacting over a million people in the U.S. alone, multiple sclerosis can cause a wide and unpredictable range of symptoms and severity. What we do know is that women are much more likely to develop MS, and that each person will experience it differently, with signs and symptoms changing and evolving through the progression of the disease.
Managing multiple sclerosis is often rather difficult; however, it is easier to manage when you understand the signs and symptoms to watch out for and stay in communication with your healthcare team about any changes noted, to allow for the most effective treatment option.
Anthem Home Care has compiled several of the most frequent early signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, along with outlying symptoms that an individual with MS may experience:
- Fatigue and weakness. Approximately 8 out of every 10 MS patients report considerable fatigue that interferes with their daily life activities.
- Difficulties with walking. MS can cause injury to the nerves that stimulate muscles, and when coupled with fatigue, loss of balance, and other factors, walking becomes a challenge.
- Numbness/tingling. One of the first telltale symptoms of MS, tingling and/or numbness can occur throughout the body, including the face, arms and legs.
- Issues with vision. Pain, blurred vision or problems with colors and contrast is another initial symptom for many, and requires an immediate appointment with the eye doctor.
- Spasticity. Spasticity is the feeling of stiffness and/or muscle spasms, and occurs most often in the legs.
- Bladder/bowel problems. Constipation and bladder dysfunction, while extremely common, can typically be remedied with medications, diet, physical exercise, and hydration.
- Dizziness. Some individuals with multiple sclerosis report dizziness, lightheadedness, or, less frequently, vertigo – the sensation of the room spinning around you.
- Changes to cognitive ability. Approximately half of those with MS experience changes to brain functionality, for example, information processing, short-term memories, focus, and the ability to accurately perceive the environment.
- Depression as well as other emotional changes. Either from the stress of managing the disease or from neurological changes, individuals diagnosed with MS most frequently experience depression in its most severe form – clinical depression – and may also endure swift changes in moods, uncontrollable laughing or crying, and increased irritability.
Less Common Symptoms
- Problems with speaking or swallowing. Slurring words and speaking in a lowered tone of voice, as well as difficulties with swallowing, may be the results of nerve damage in the mouth and throat muscles, and can be worse during times of fatigue.
- Tremors and seizures. While rare, seizures may occur as a result of either scarring within the brain or abnormal electrical discharges. Tremors may be noticeable as well because of nerve damage.
- Loss of hearing. Although another rare symptom, affecting only about 6% of MS patients, hearing loss can be one of the first symptoms reported.
- Trouble with breathing. When chest muscles are weakened because of nerve damage, problems with breathing can occur.
Anthem Home Care is an important part of the healthcare team of our clients with multiple sclerosis, and we can help provide many types of assistance to individuals with this chronic condition. Reach out to us at 361-643-2323 for a complimentary in-home assessment and for more information regarding our compassionate care team and our specialized home care services for persons with MS. Contact our team today to find a caregiver in Corpus Christi or the surrounding areas. Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities we serve.