Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder whereby the immune system mistakenly attacks a protective sheath called myelin that covers the nerves. As a result, communication messages between the brain and the rest of the body gets disrupted. Currently, MS affects 2.5 million people around the world. The available treatments can help delay its progression and manage symptoms, yet they do not cure it completely; it is second to congestive heart failure in terms of treatment cost in the US. In light of these alarming facts, this article becomes a must-read!
Be the first to notice the signs and symptoms!
The earlier you notice signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis, the more likely you are to be diagnosed early and the higher your chances to relieve those symptoms and delay disease progression. Early signs and symptoms include:
- blurred vision or double vision
- partial or complete loss of vision in one eye at a time, often paired with pain when moving the eye
- electric shock feeling, usually when bending the neck forward
- muscle weakness and spasms, usually in one side of the body at a time
- tingling and numbness
- vertigo and dizziness
- problems with balance and coordination
Other less common symptoms include:
- speech and swallowing problems
- cognitive dysfunction
- difficulty with walking
- urinary problems
- sexual dysfunction
- mood swings
Assess your risk!
Women are twice more likely than men to be affected with multiple sclerosis. The risk of multiple sclerosis usually increases between the ages of 20 and 40. The risk also increases if you have a family history of multiple sclerosis, or if you also have autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, or inflammatory bowel disease. If you have experienced an infection from the Epstein-Barr virus, you are 10 times at a higher risk; this risk increases 20 times if you have had mononucleosis, a viral infection transmitted through saliva during kissing, through a cough or sneeze, or by sharing a glass or food utensils with someone who has the infection.
Know the possible complications!
Multiple sclerosis is a serious disorder that may lead to a series of complications including muscle stiffness and spasms, paralysis (usually in the legs), bladder, bowel, or sexual problems, memory problems, mood swings, depression, and epilepsy.