Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease affecting millions worldwide, and nearly 400,000 in the United States alone. It can be a challenging disease to navigate but easier to manage if you can recognize the signs and symptoms early on.
Some early signs of multiple sclerosis include tingling, blurry vision, and slurred speech. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or your loved one, speak with your doctor.
What Is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis is a condition that impacts the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a wide range of symptoms that affect how the human body operates. Currently, there is no cure for MS, a lifelong disease that will likely reduce one’s life expectancy.
Multiple sclerosis can develop at any point in life, with women more commonly diagnosed with MS. Proper care and treatment can generally manage symptoms.
Types of Multiple Sclerosis
Here are the different types of MS that are known to exist:
Relapsing Remitting MS
Someone with relapsing MS will generally have worsening symptoms for a few days to weeks before it slowly stabilizes and improves over a similar period. The time between these relapses is known as a period of remission, and they can vary in length, sometimes lasting even years.
Secondary Progressive MS
In this stage, MS is constant, without relapses—ony worsening progression. In this stage you’ll likely notice symptoms worsening.
Primary Progressive MS
This stage does not develop from relapsing MS because there are few, or no, relapses to progress.
What Are Some Symptoms & Signs of Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis can be a complex disease, as the symptoms can range based on the individual. Here are a few of the more common signs of MS:
Inflammation of MS typically causes issues for the optic nerve and can impact your vision. Some of the common vision issues caused by MS include:
- Inflammation of the optic nerve
- Eye movement problems
- Double vision
If you notice any vision issues, book an appointment with your doctor and discuss your symptoms.
Fatigue and weakness in the body are other common symptoms experienced by people living with MS. Many people with multiple sclerosis develop muscle atrophy, leading to fatigue and shrinkage of their muscles.
Tingling & Numbness
MS impacts the nerves in your brain and spinal cord, leading to decreased sensitivity in places like your hands, face, or arms.
Discomfort and spasms are common symptoms of multiple sclerosis, typically caused by the nerves miscommunicating information with your brain. Spasms are generally uncontrollable jerking movements in the legs or back.
Another common issue with multiple sclerosis is a dysfunctional bladder, making it difficult to hold in urine and the need to urinate frequently.
Some people with MS may develop cognitive issues like memory loss, shortened attention span, and overall difficulties with concentration.
Issues with Balance
Coordination and balance can come into question when living with MS, as the mobility of someone diagnosed with the disease may decrease. Lightheadedness and a change in gait are two common symptoms experienced.
In most cases, people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50 years old, but it is not uncommon to go many years before being diagnosed.
How to Treat Multiple Sclerosis?
There is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but many treatment options can be used to help alleviate symptoms and discomfort.
A wide range of drugs are available to help with multiple sclerosis, such as oral medications or injections. Here are some of the popular medications being used:
These are only a few medications available, and it’s important to speak with your doctor and develop a treatment plan that works best for your body and condition.
Making important lifestyle changes is another good option for caring for your body and health. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Get proper sleep
- Eat healthy and well-balanced meals
- Exercise regularly
- Manage your stress
Before making any serious changes to your lifestyle, please consult with your doctor and discuss your intentions in advance.
Consider Senior Living
Even with the many available treatment options, it can be difficult for older adults to manage symptoms and continue living independently.
Communities like All American Assisted Living offer a range of services that can help remove the stress of chores from daily life, allowing time to focus on the things that matter. Some of the services provided include:
- Access to therapists
- 24/7 onsite support
- Medication management
- Support groups
- Scheduled transportation
- Regular health assessments