Multiple Sclerosis

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Signs and Symptoms

Because MS can attack any area of the central nervous system, the signs and symptoms of MS are many and varied. They are associated with what the nerves in the affected area(s) are responsible for controlling. Symptoms of MS may come and go, and their duration may last from days to months. Some of these include:

  • Sensory symptoms such as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, itching, facial pain, and visual disturbances
  • Motor symptoms such as speech impediments, weakness, tremor, difficulty walking, lack of coordination, constipation, and problems with the control of urination
  • Psychological symptoms such as mood swings, depression, and problems with thinking, learning, and memory
  • Fatigue occurs in up to 90% of those with MS.
  • Temperature sensitivity occurs in up to 60%; symptoms temporarily worsen with heat.

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, about 85% of those with multiple sclerosis initially have relapsing-remitting MS. They experience periodic attacks or relapses followed by healing and symptom remission. Later in the course of the disease, about half develop secondary-progressive MS. Their symptoms and disabilities worsen as they continue to have relapses but do not fully recover. About 10% of people with MS have a progressive form of the disease. They grow gradually worse without experiencing remissions.

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