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#012: Overview about possible MS Symptoms

This time it’s all about MS symptoms and giving you an overview of what can be related to the disease. Because especially at the beginning, the variety of problems is not always clear to you. And it is important for your healthcare professional (HCP) to know how his or her patient is doing and whether, for example, the chosen disease-modifying therapy is working. Multiple sclerosis is called the disease of 1,000 faces for good reason, as it progresses differently in each patient and there are a variety of possible symptoms. That’s why it takes many years for some patients to finally receive the right diagnosis. 

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Table of Contents

MS Symptoms at the beginning

Please be aware, that most patients will have only a selection of the symptoms mentioned below and will likely encounter a few different ones over the course of the disease.

The following are MS symptoms that typically occur at the beginning of the disease:

  • Sensory disturbances (numbness, tingling, burning pain),
  • impaired movement (weakness, stiffness, clumsiness, problems walking),
  • Visual disturbances (double vision, blurred vision, decreased color perception)
  • and fatigue (rapid physical and mental fatigue).
Overview on multiple sclerosis symptoms (Source: "Brain health. Time matters in multiple sclerosis", 2021, page 19)

MS Symptoms in the long run

Other symptoms may be added later in the MS course:

Psyche

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Crying spells
  • Emotional instability

Movement

  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Balance disorders
  • Muscle stiffness and painful muscle cramps (spasms)
  • Coordination disorders
  • Paralysis

Visual disturbances

  • Eye movement pain
  • Loss of vision
  • Double vision

Other impairments

  • Pain
  • Fatigue (chronic fatigue)
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Sleep disorders
  • Speech disorders
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Sexual function disorders
  • Bladder problems
  • Digestive problems

As long as one has sufficient neurological reserve to allow the central nervous system (CNS) to compensate for damaged areas, chances are good that symptoms will partially or even completely resolve. Classically, this phase in the disease course is referred to as relapsing-remitting MS.

Thus, a major goal in the treatment of MS is to protect the CNS from disease activity as best as possible starting at the onset of diagnosis. This is achieved by an individually suitable disease-modifying therapy (DMT) and a healthy lifestyle. So that the MS can be slowed down as much as possible or even stopped completely. The keyword is prevention.

Of course, there are also different treatment options for all MS symptoms. An important pillar is the therapeutic approach with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, but also relaxation techniques and appropriate exercise like meditation, yoga, TaiChi or the Feldenkrais method. In addition, there are medication options for treatment, specific aids and sometimes surgical interventions.

High intensive intervall training or HIIT for short, as well as cardiovascular Training combined with cognitive training play an important role in gaining back lost functions and keep a high quality of life level.

I will address each MS symptom individually in upcoming episodes.

Please keep in mind:

It is important to treat each MS symptom as best as possible to reduce stress levels in the body. This helps to reduce fatigue, increase quality of life, and reduce inflammatory activity in the body that can be caused, for example, by multiple bladder infections per year.

Stay as healthy as possible, well informed and try to make the most of your life,
Nele

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Nele Handwerker

Blogger & Patient Advocate

I show you how to make the best of your life with MS from family to career to hobbies. Thanks to science and research, a lot is possible nowadays.

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