By Steve Dempster
No-one likes to think they may ever develop a disease as serious in its implications as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). However, to be forewarned is indeed to be forearmed and early diagnosis can make a great difference to a patient’s progress. This article looks at some of the main early onset symptoms of the disease.
Due to the constraints placed on space within this article, only a brief overview of symptoms is possible. If you suspect you may be affected by any of the following symptoms of MS, consult your physician.
Visual symptoms include
* Optic Neuritis: This causes loss of colour vision, eye pain, blurred vision and (ultimately) blindness.
* Afferent Pupillary Defect: This gives rise to abnormal response of the pupil of the eye.
* Movement and sounds phosphenes: These can cause ‘flashing lights’ to be seen when moving the eyes or in response to a sudden noise.
* Nystagmus: this causes the eyes to move jerkily instead of smoothly.
* Diplopia: The medical term for ‘double vision’.
* Ocular Dysmetria: this causes constant under- or over-shooting of eye movements
Motor symptoms include
* Paresis; Monoparesis; Paraparesis; Hemiparesis and Quadraperesis: all names for muscle weakness, up to and including partial or mild paralysis.
* Spasticity: this causes stiffness, pain and restriction of free movement of limbs due to loss of muscle tone.
* Muscle atrophy: the wasting away of muscle tissue due to lack of use.
* Restless leg syndrome: these are involuntary leg movements, particularly bothersome at night.
* Hypotonia; Clonus: posture problems.
* Footdrop: this is when the foot drags along the floor when walking.
* Dysarthia: speech problems including slurring of speech.
Co-ordination and balance symptoms
* Dystonia: Slow feedback of limb position.
* Intention tremor: Shaking when fine movements are attempted.
* Ataxia: General loss of co-ordination.
* Speech ataxia: stuttering and general problems with speech co-ordination.
* Vestibular ataxia: abnormal functioning of the inner ear – can cause vertigo.
These are just some of the main symptoms of MS. There are many more in other areas but to list them all is well beyond the scope of this article. It is important, however, to realise that ignoring any of the above symptoms – particularly if they are tending to grow more severe or frequent – can lead to greater problems as the disease advances.
Although no cure is known for MS, there are many treatments available that do help control the condition to a greater or lesser extent and life expectancy – though perhaps not life quality – is roughly the same for those affected by Multiple Sclerosis as those who are not.
Again, if any of the above symptoms seem relevant to you, it is important to consult your doctor or physician. The symptoms you are having may be totally unrelated to Multiple Sclerosis but the old adage – better sure than sorry – certainly applies here.
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