Multiple sclerosis: Symptoms and Causes

Main symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) Overview

Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata is an inflammatory disease which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. Damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms including mental, physical and sometimes psychiatric problems. MS takes in several forms with a new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms). Between attacks symptoms may disappear completely , however permanent neurological problems often occur especially as the disease advances.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects the brain and spinal cord. Early MS symptoms includes weakness, tingling, numbness and blurred vision. Some signs are thinking problems, muscle stiffness and urinary problems. The treatment can relieve MS symptoms and delay disease progression.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease in which your immune system attacks the protective sheath (myelin) that covers your nerves. Myelin – damage disrupts communication between your brain and the rest of your body. Fortunate the nerves themselves may deteriorate a process that’s currently irreversible.

Signs and symptoms vary widely, depending on the amount of damage and which nerves are affected. Other people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently or at all while others experience long periods of remission during which they develop no new symptoms.

There’s no cure for multiple sclerosis. However this treatments can help speed recovery from attacks modify the course of disease and manage symptoms.

Early Symptoms

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Usually symptoms get better but then come back. Some may come and some may go while others linger.

Track your symptoms to help your doctor know whether MS or another condition is to blame.

♦  Blurred or double vision
♦  Thinking problems
♦  Clumsiness or a lack of coordination
♦  Loss of balance
♦  Numbness
♦  Tingling
♦  Weakness in an arm or leg

No two person have exactly the same symptoms of MS.

You may have a single symptom, and then go months or years without any others. The problem can also happen just one time, go away and never return. Some people, the symptoms become worse within weeks or months.


Signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary depending on location of affected nerve fibers.

MS signs and symptoms can include:

♦  Numbness or weakness in one or more limbs that typically occurs on one side of your body at a time or the legs and trunk
♦  Partial or complete loss of vision usually in one eye at a time often with pain during eye movement
♦  Double vision or blurring of vision
♦  Tingling or pain in parts of your body
♦  Electric-shock sensations that occur with certain neck movements especially bending the neck forward
♦  Tremor, lack of coordination or unsteady gait
♦  Slurred speech
♦  Fatigue
♦  Dizziness
♦  A Problems with bowel and bladder function

Disease course

Most people with MS have a relapsing-remitting course, with new symptoms (relapse) that develop over days or weeks and usually improve partially or completely, followed by a quiet period (remission) that can last months or even years. Tiny increases in body temperature can temporarily worsen signs and symptoms of MS but that type of event is not a relapse.

About 60 to 70 percent of people with relapsing-remitting MS eventually develop a steady progression of symptoms, with or without periods of remission (secondary-progressive MS). The worsening symptoms sometimes include problems with gait. Rate of progression varies greatly among people with secondary-progressive MS.

Other people with MS experience a gradual onset and steady progression of signs and symptoms with no relapses (primary-progressive MS).


The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown. It’s believed to be autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. This process destroys myelin the fatty substance that coats and protects nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord.

Myelin can be compared to the insulation on electrical wires. When myelin is damaged the messages that travel along that nerve may be slowed or blocked.

It isn’t clear why MS develops in some people and not others. Combination of factors, ranging from genetics to childhood infections may play a role.