What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, often shortened to MS, is a neurological condition that is characterised by damaged nerve fibres (myelin). Because of the importance of the nervous system in the body, this damage can cause a wide range of symptoms, and these symptoms often result in various disabilities or challenges in the patient.
How many people in the UK are living with multiple sclerosis?
Approximately 100,000 people in the UK live with MS and most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. It’s known to affect nearly three times as many women as men. Let’s explore some of the warning signs of MS.
What are the first signs of MS?
- Fatigue – Chronic fatigue is different to simply feeling tired – those living with MS will often fee completely and utterly exhausted and may struggle to carry out simple activities.
- Problems with vision – In around 25% of MS cases, the person can experience loss of vision, colour blindness, pain in the eye, flashes or double vision.
- Numbness / tingling – Various parts of the body – often the arms, legs and the trunk – will feel numb or ‘tingly’ to an individual living with multiple sclerosis.
- Spasms, stiffness and weakness in muscles – Muscle contraction, stiffness or general weakness could be warning signs of MS.
- Problems with mental health – Aside from cognitive dysfunction, those living with MS are more prone to periods of anxiety or depression (or both). Mood swings may also become apparent.
- Problems with the bladder and/or bowel – Constipation is a common issue, as are many problems with passing urine, including the need to go more frequently.
- General pain One of the warning signs of MS includes frequently experiencing pain. It can either be directly caused by the condition, or as a result of other symptoms. This can include both neuropathic and musculoskeletal pain.