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Multiple Sclerosis - Symptoms

Symptoms

  • weakness of one or more extremities
  • paralysis of one or more extremities
  • tremor of one or more extremities
  • muscle spasticity (uncontrollable spasm of muscle groups)
  • muscle atrophy
  • movement, dysfunctional
  • slowly progressive
  • beginning in the legs
  • numbness, decreased or abnormal sensation in any area
  • tingling
  • facial pain
  • pain in an extremity
  • may start suddenly
  • loss of vision -- usually affects one eye at a time
  • double vision
  • eye discomfort
  • rapid eye movements, uncontrollable
  • eye symptoms worsen on movement of the eyes
  • decreased coordination
  • loss of balance
  • decreased ability to control small or intricate movements
  • walking/gait abnormalities
  • muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
  • dizziness
  • vertigo
  • urinary hesitancy, difficult to begin urinating
  • strong urge to urinate (urinary urgency)
  • frequent need to urinate
  • incontinence (leakage of urine, loss of control over urination)
  • decreased memory
  • decreased spontaneity
  • decreased judgment
  • loss of ability to think abstractly
  • loss of ability to generalize
  • depression
  • decreased attention span
  • slurred speech
  • difficulty speaking or understanding speech
  • fatigue, tired easily

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

  • constipation
  • hearing loss
  • positive Babinski's reflex

Note: Symptoms may vary with each attack. They may last days to months, then reduce or disappear, then recur periodically. Fever can trigger or worsen attacks, as can hot baths, sun exposure, and stress.

Signs and tests:

Symptoms of MS may mimic many other neurologic disorders. A history of at least two attacks separated by a period of reduced or no symptoms may indicate the pattern of attack/remission seen in MS. If there are observable decreases in any functions of the central nervous system (such as abnormal reflexes), the diagnosis of MS may be suspected.

Examination by the health care provider may show focal neurologic deficits (localized decreases in function). This may include decreased or abnormal sensation, decreased ability to move a part of the body, speech or vision changes, or other loss of neurologic functions. The type of neurologic deficit may indicate, to some extent, the location of the damage to the nerves. Eye examination may show abnormal pupil responses, changes in the visual fields or eye movements, nystagmus (rapid eye movements) triggered by movement of the eye, decreased visual acuity, or abnormal findings on a fundoscopy (an examination of the internal structures of the eye).

Tests that indicate or confirm multiple sclerosis include:

  • EEG (electroencephalogram), including looking for changes in brain waves in response to sounds or visual stimuli
  • BERA (brainstem evoked response audiometry)
  • visual evoked response
  • head MRI scan that shows scarring or a lesion
  • spine MRI scan that shows scarring or a lesion
  • lumbar puncture (spinal tap)
  • CSF cell count
  • CSF oligoclonal banding

The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. There is no warranty that the information is free from all errors and omissions or that it meets any particular standard.

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