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The Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Seniors

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Seniors can face unique challenges over the years. Physical changes, cognitive changes, and even changes in mobility; these all affect a person’s ability to stay independent. But while some changes are common, they can also be a sign of something more severe—like multiple sclerosis

It’s important to note that conditions like multiple sclerosis can be complicated and often affect people in different ways. It can cause various physical, cognitive, and visual changes, and progresses at different rates. If your loved one is experiencing a sudden change in their visual, physical, or cognitive abilities, it’s crucial to visit a healthcare professional to get tested for MS.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis?

Your central nervous system is a complicated network that helps you coordinate movements, feel pain, and communicate with almost every individual part of your body. It’s like a superhighway of information.

In some of the more delicate areas—like the spine, brain, and eyes—this system is protected by a protective sheath called myelin. This is a protective layer of fats and proteins that protects the body of the nerve from the surrounding areas; this way, your natural immune won’t damage this superhighway. However, this isn’t always the case.

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic illness that attacks the central nervous system, steadily wearing down this myelin cover. Over time, this can lead to communication issues between the brain and the rest of the body, resulting in a wide range of both cognitive and physical symptoms.

The Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

It’s important to note that MS is an extremely complicated condition. It’s an unpredictable disease that can vary greatly from person to person; while some people experience mild symptoms, others may face significant complications that affect almost every aspect of their life. If you’re worried about MS, it’s important to visit a healthcare professional to get tested.

For seniors, MS can often have a significant effect on their overall quality of life. It can often cause:

  • Vision changes
  • Physical changes
  • Cognitive changes

Vision Changes

One of the earliest and most noticeable signs of MS can be vision changes. This is due to how the condition affects the optic nerve—the cord of nerves that transmits visual information from your eyes to your brain.

Damage to the optic nerve can cause:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Vision loss
  • Involuntary eye movements

If you have a loved one experiencing significant vision changes, visit an optometrist or healthcare professional to learn the cause. While MS can cause significant vision changes, it isn’t the only condition that can do this; a proper diagnosis is key to determining the next steps.

Physical Changes

To move your muscles, your brain needs to send commands and signals throughout your nervous system. However, when MS begins damaging this network, it can cause a range of physical symptoms such as:

  • Mobility issues
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Muscle spasms

If your loved one is experiencing these symptoms, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider.

Cognitive Changes

MS doesn’t just affect the body; it can also impact the mind. Cognitive changes are another important area to monitor. This condition can cause:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Issues with problem-solving
  • Slowed thinking or brain fog

It’s important to remember that MS is extremely complicated. These changes can occur simultaneously or individually—some people may experience significant physical changes with no cognitive decline, while others may notice the opposite. If you ever notice severe changes in your loved one’s physical or mental health, visit a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis.

How Senior Living Can Help

When thinking about senior living, many people imagine a home-like environment where seniors can live with like-minded people. However, while this is a big part of senior living, these communities go much further than that.

Assisted living, a popular type of senior living, is designed specifically for older adults who want to stay independent but need a hand here and there with some of their daily tasks. So when conditions like MS make daily life a little more complicated than it has to be, senior living is often an excellent choice.

In senior living, your loved one can move to a community that truly understands the complications they face every day. The communities offer easy access to round-the-clock emergency medical services, and a team of trained caregivers is always on-site to help your loved one with the tasks that give them trouble.

This means that a move to senior living can be an excellent way to maintain your loved one’s dignity, quality of life, and more!

Let Our Community Help

All American Assisted Living at Enfield, we understand how conditions like MS can be complex.  That’s why we provide compassionate care and support for seniors living with all kinds of medical conditions. We’re here to help your loved one each and every day, so book a tour with our community today!

Written by kaplan

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