Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

Author: Hilary Eldridge

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex condition in which the body’s immune system attacks various parts of the body. The disease causes damage to the protective coating of nerves, which causes them to function improperly. The symptoms of MS vary from one person to the next and can even come and go, so diagnosis is sometimes difficult. In fact, one study revealed that many people are not diagnosed with MS until seven years after they have their first symptom. Knowing the early signs of MS could help you to recognize the disease in your aging relative and help them to get treated sooner. Below are some of the early signs of MS.

Problems with Vision

Trouble with vision is often the first symptom that people with MS experience. MS can affect the optic nerve, causing inflammation. Some of the vision problems that can happen are:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Seeing double.
  • Vision loss.
  • Dulling of colors.
  • Eye pain, especially when moving the eye.

Unusual Sensations

Many people with MS report feeling odd sensations in various parts of the body. Some of the things a person with MS might feel are:

  • Tingling or numbness in the arms, face, legs, or fingers.
  • A feeling like an electric shock during head or neck movement. The feeling can move down the spine or through the arms and legs.
  • A tight or swelling feeling.
  • Itching.

Dizziness and Coordination Problems

Someone with MS might experience bouts of vertigo in which they feel like the room is spinning around them. They might also feel dizzy or lightheaded. They could have trouble with balance or coordination. They might also have a change in the way they walk.

Difficulty with Cognitive Function

Around 50 percent of people with MS have problems with thinking. They may have:

  • Trouble with memory.
  • Difficulty with language.
  • Problems with organization.
  • Lack of attention.

Unexplained Fatigue

MS can cause a person to feel very tired for no apparent reason. Some people even feel tired from the moment they get up in the morning. Fatigue happens in around 80 percent of people with MS. Often, the person suddenly feels fatigued, and the problem goes on for weeks.

Caring for a Loved One With Multiple Sclerosis

If your older adult relative has MS or is showing early signs of MS, a professional caregiver could help them to live more comfortably and safely at home. A professional caregiver can help the senior to move safely around the house. If the senior uses a wheelchair, the caregiver can help with transfers from the chair to other surfaces. A caregiver can also help with household tasks that the MS patient cannot do, like cleaning, cooking, or laundry.

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