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Atypical Multiple Sclerosis Signs & Symptoms

Overview

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, affects the central nervous system, which includes both the brain and the spinal cord. MS results in damage to the myelin sheath which covers, insulates and protects nerve cells and facilitates the transfer of the electrical messages sent by nerve cells. MS damage results in these messages being impeded. The effects of MS can occur anywhere in the body, depending on which nerve fibers are affected. There are many MS symptoms, some of which are rare or atypical.

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Respiration and Breathing Problems

The National MS society lists respiration problems as an uncommon MS symptom. Breathing difficulties occur when there is damage to the nerves that control the muscles of the chest, resulting in the potentially sever weakening of those muscles. A very serious associated problem is aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when food particles of liquids pass into the lungs, making breathing more difficult. Fortunately, breathing problems can often be evaluated and treated by nurses or rehabilitation professionals with respiratory expertise, which could also help fatigue and speech production, both of which can be affected by MS.

Speech Problems

Voice problems and speech issues are relatively rare MS symptoms, occurring in about 25 percent of patients, notes the National MS Society. Individuals with MS normally undergo problems with speech during periods of extreme fatigue or during a relapse. Dysarthria and dysphonia are the two types of speech problems that can occur. Dysarthria involves speech production changes which can include slurring, difficulty controlling speech volume and unclear pronunciation or articulation of words. Dysphonia involves voice quality changes like hoarseness, nasality, pitch and breathiness. A speech pathologist can address speech difficulties, as well as any swallowing problems, which can accompany speech issues, notes Everyday Health.

Tremor

Tremors are uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body, most often a limb, and can vary in degree or severity, notes the National MS Society. However, sometimes MS tremors can occur in the head, neck, vocal cords or trunk. About 25 percent of MS patients experience tremors, notes Everyday Health. Tremor occurs in MS because of damaged areas along nerve pathways responsible for movement coordination. Additionally, people with MS tremors can also experience speaking and swallowing difficulties, since they are controlled by similar nerve pathways. Although medications and therapies for tremors have been somewhat successful as of 2010, more research is needed in effectively treating this relatively rare MS symptom. The National MS Society notes that tremors are considered by physicians to be one of the most difficult MS symptoms to treat.

Via : livestrong

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