6 early warning signs of multiple sclerosis

In multiple sclerosis, the myelin sheath of the nerve cells gets damaged, affecting the central nervous system. It is, therefore, vital to seek timely treatment. While multiple sclerosis patients don’t always show the presence of the same signs and symptoms, some of these, such as numbness and tingling, can be considered early signs of the condition. So, noting them can help doctors diagnose the condition early, leading to better treatment and management.

Exhaustion or fatigue, even when performing daily activities, is one of the early signs of multiple sclerosis. Patients might experience increased fatigue following exposure to high temperatures and infections, but it might also have no obvious cause. The chronic tiredness tends to impact one’s quality of life and work significantly.

Vision problems
Experiencing pain and problems with vision is one of the most common and early signs of multiple sclerosis. As the condition affects the central nervous system, the optic nerve is affected in turn. Patients might experience temporary vision loss caused by optic neuritis. It can also lead to pain in the eye, double vision, and color blindness. Problems of the optic nerve are as considered to be more concrete signs of multiple sclerosis as opposed to other early signs like numbness and a tingling sensation.

Cognitive changes
Several patients with multiple sclerosis experience some form of cognitive change; it is one of the common early signs of the condition. However, a significant number of patients may already experienced changes in their memory by the time they have received their diagnosis. Patients may even experience difficulty concentrating on the task at hand. In some cases, individuals might experience decreased verbal fluency and face difficulties in processing new information.

Squeezing sensation
A commonly present and described sign of multiple sclerosis is also known as the MS hug. It is described by patients as the strong sensation of their torso being squeezed as if there were a girdle or a blood pressure cuff wrapped around them. This sensation may last for a few minutes or even longer in some patients and can vary from dull pain to sharp. It is believed that this squeezing sensation is caused because of the presence of lesions in the brain. These cause the information to be misinterpreted by the brain or can alternatively be the muscles in the torso spasming.

Numbness or tingling
A telltale symptom of multiple sclerosis is the presence of a tingling sensation or numbness in the arms or legs. It can also occur in the face, but this is less common. There is usually no pain alongside the numbness. While the loss of sensation in one’s limbs might not always be considered a severe sign, it can cause mobility issues and increased frustration. Numbness in the body can also make day-to-day tasks like writing, eating, walking, talking, performing chores, and getting ready a monumental task.

Balance troubles
In some patients, multiple sclerosis can end up causing symptoms like balancing issues, vertigo, dizziness, and lightheadedness. This is caused when the condition has affected certain areas of the brain that are responsible for coordination. However, these symptoms can be caused by multiple issues. The presence of one or more symptoms associated with balance problems cannot be a confirmation of the condition. A doctor might recommend some tests to detect the cause of the existing symptoms.