Multiple sclerosis warning signs: What are the symptoms of MS? 10 early signs of MS

Kadeena Cox talks about her multiple sclerosis on Bake Off

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Multiple sclerosis is a neurological condition which impacts your nerves. The result of this impact is your immune system fails to function properly which can lead to a number of impacts on your body, life and wellbeing. has compiled a list of 10 early warning signs for this condition.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive, immune-mediated disorder which means your body mistakes the system designed to keep your body healthy as an attacker.

Your body then attacks parts of your body which are vital to everyday function.

The protective coverings in your nerve cells become damaged which leads to diminished function in your brain and spinal cord.

MS comes with very unpredictable symptoms which impact different people to varying degrees and intensity.

Some MS sufferers may experience fatigue and nausea, while others may experience paralysis, vision loss and diminished brain function.

Often people’s symptoms develop and worsen over time – while others may see them come and go.

Periods, when symptoms worsen, are known as relapses.

However, when symptoms disappear or improve, these are known as remissions.

What are the warning signs of MS?

Vision problems

One of the most common early warning signs of MS is problems with your vision.

MS can cause inflammation which can impact the optic nerve and disrupt your central vision resulting in blurred or double vision, as well as the loss of vision.

Colour blindness, eye pain – usually relating to when moving the eye and flashes of light when moving the eye are other common experiences.

For one in four cases of MS, the first noticeable symptom is a problem with one of your eyes.

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Fatigue and weakness

Feeling fatigued is another hugely common and troublesome warning sign for MS.

Rather than tiredness, fatigue associated with MS is described as an overwhelming sense of exhaustion which means it is a struggle to undertake the simplest of tasks.

Fatigue significantly affects your daily life and tends to worsen towards the end of the day, in hot weather, after exercise or when you are ill.

Weakness is another early warning sign – and tends to be most noticeable in the legs at first according to MS patients.

Numbness and tingling

Abnormal sensations are a common initial symptom of MS often taking the form of numbness or tingling in parts of the body.

These sensations often spread out to other body parts over a few days.

MS impacts your brain and spinal cord which means it can result in conflicting messages being sent around your body or the lack of any signals altogether – the former being tingling and the latter numbness.

The most common sites for numbness include the face, arms, legs and fingers.

Muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness

MS can cause muscles to contract tightly and painfully and result in spasms.

In addition, MS can become stiff and resistant to movement which is called spasticity and can lead your muscles to become weaker.

Chronic pain and involuntary muscle spasms reportedly impact half of people with MS.

Balance issues and dizziness

Many people with MS report feeling dizziness and having issues with coordination and balance.

Problems of this nature are often referred to as issues with your gait.

People with MS often feel lightheaded, dizzy or as if their surroundings are spinning – particularly when they stand up.

Other common early warning signs include:

  • Bladder issues – including frequent urination, strong urges to urinate or an inability to hold in urine.
  • Sexual dysfunction – Men having issues obtaining or maintaining an erection and taking longer to ejaculate or being unable to ejaculate. Women may struggle to reach organsm and have decreased vaginal lubrication and sensation. Both sexes may be less interested in sex compared to how they were before.
  • Bowel issues – including constipation and bowel incontinence.
  • Speech problems – many people see their speech become slurred or difficult to understand.
  • Swallowing issues – some people with MS experience difficulty chewing or swallowing at some point.

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