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Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis in Adults

Overview

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society estimates that 400,000 Americans have multiple sclerosis. MS is a chronic, autoimmune disorder that attacks the brain, spinal cord and optic nerve. The cause of MS is not known, but MS is more common in women than in men. The usual age of diagnosis is between 20 and 50 years of age; however, the disease can be diagnosed in teens and older adults. While there is no cure for MS, treatments are available to decrease symptoms and increase quality of life.

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Bladder and Bowel Problems

Symptoms of bladder dysfunction include frequency and urgency of urination, hesitancy, frequent nighttime urination, and the inability to hold urine. Urinary symptoms occur when the bladder is unable to hold a normal amount of urine or when the bladder is unable to empty properly. Medications, fluid management and catheterization help treat urinary symptoms. Bowel symptoms, which include constipation, diarrhea and stomach problems, are common in people with MS. Increasing fluid intake and fiber and using stool softeners under a doctor's supervision can help manage bowel symptoms, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society states.

Motor Symptoms

Slurred speech, involuntary contraction of muscles, jerking and twitching muscles, involuntary leg movements, and problems with posture are symptoms of MS caused by lesions in the brain or on the spinal cord. Partial paralysis or total paralysis can also occur.

Cognitive Symptoms

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states that 50 percent of individuals will have cognitive dysfunction and 5 to 10 percent will have symptoms so severe that they interfere with daily functioning. Symptoms of cognitive dysfunction include problems with attention and concentration, learning and remembering new information, planning and organizing, performing calculations, and finding the right words.

Coordination Symptoms

Problems with walking and balance are common mobility problems in individuals with MS. Muscle weakness can cause dragging of the toes and foot drop. Weakness in one or both legs can occur. Muscles that are tight or spastic can also cause problems with walking. Some individuals may suffer from numbness in the feet, which makes it hard to feel the ground as they walk. Physical therapy, assistive devices and medications can help treat coordination problems.

Visual Symptoms

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society states that inflammation of the optic nerve can cause eye symptoms, including blurred vision, loss of color vision and double vision. Nystagmus, which is abnormal eye movements, can also occur. Eye problems are common in individuals with MS but rarely result in total blindness.

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms that may occur include fatigue, acid reflux, swallowing problems and respiratory problems.

 

Via : livestrong

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