Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a medical condition that affects your central nervous system. It is an auto-immune disease which means the body mistakes parts of itself for a foreign invader and initiates and attack. The nerves that run throughout your body are coated by a fatty substance called myelin. In the case of MS, for reasons not well understood, the body attacks and destroys the myelin and, in some cases, the actual nerves. This can lead to a variety of symptoms which varies greatly from person to person. This makes MS a challenging disease to diagnose. If you notice any early symptoms of multiple sclerosis, talk to your doctor; the earlier you start treatment the better.
In the early stages of multiple sclerosis, your symptoms may be very general and not present all the time. Testing at this stage is mainly to help to rule out other conditions says the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. One of the first warning signs may be fatigue. Fatigue occurs in about 80 percent of all MS patients. The fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis goes beyond just feeling tried now and again. It is severe enough that it limits your daily activities. You may feel fatigued every day and even first thing in the morning after a good night’s sleep. A unique characteristic of MS fatigue is that it tends to get worse when you are in warm or humid conditions. As soon as your body cools your fatigue may subside.
Numbness and Tingling
According to the Merck website, the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often very vague. However they can include numbness, tingling and burning sensations in various areas of the body. As the nerve signals are interrupted, you may notice a loss of sensation of touch in the hands and feet and you may temporarily lose strength in the arms or legs. You may go through periods where your body feels stiff and your muscles develop uncontrollable spasms. The challenge with this condition is that it tends to go into periods of remission. This means that you may delay seeking medical treatment because you do not have symptoms all the time.
Changes in your vision can be another early warning sign of multiple sclerosis. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that this happens because MS damages the nerves that are involved in eyesight. You may notice that your vision is blurred or you start seeing double. This may happen in just one eye or both. If you experience the early warning signs of multiple sclerosis your doctor can order MRIs and neurological exams to detect damage that is consistent with MS. These tests may pick up on lesions or scar tissue that tend to be present in those with MS. However, these changes may not show up in the early stages.
Difficulty with Balance and Coordination
Because the nerve signals are not getting through as they should you may develop trouble maintaining your balance and coordinating movements. You may start to walk in a staggered pattern and feel like you need to hold onto something to prevent a fall. You may have trouble grasping or holding onto objects and experience periods of dizziness and lightheadedness. Given the complexity of this condition, it may take months or even years for your doctor to confirm a diagnosis.
Via : livestrong