Neurology & Stroke

The Multiple Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

According to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, MS affects 2.3 million people around the world. While the exact cause of this condition is still unknown, scientists are hard at work trying to determine why it happens and how to cure it. Read on as we share the basics of MS.

What Is MS?

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a condition in which your immune system damages your nerves, myelin (the protective coating of the nerves), and cells that produce myelin. Nerves send signals throughout the body, and when impaired, they can alter or even prevent these messages from sending.

What Are the Symptoms of MS?

Your nerves are responsible for transforming stimuli into signals, sending this information to the brain, and carrying your brain’s responses to the correct part of the body. MS damages nerves and therefore inhibits their signaling ability, which can create a wide variety of symptoms, including:

  • Changes in vision

  • Numbness

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of balance and/or coordination

  • Slurred speech

  • Changes in concentration

  • Memory problems

Since these signs are characteristic of several different conditions, MS is often difficult to diagnose. “If you notice any combination of symptoms, document them and their frequency, and share this information with your doctor,” advises Todd Maraist, MD, neurologist at CHI St. Joseph Health Neurology Associates in South College Station and a member of CHI St. Joseph and Texas A&M Health Network.

How Do Doctors Treat MS?

While there currently isn’t a cure for MS, people with the condition can still live healthy and fulfilling lives. Treatment for MS involves a combination of medicine and rehabilitation. Medications can lower the frequency of relapses, decrease inflammation, and even remove lesions from the brain and spinal cord. Rehabilitation focuses on working to overcome the symptoms each patient experiences. In rehab, people may work on conserving energy, improving mobility, or speaking more clearly.

If you have symptoms that point toward multiple sclerosis, schedule an appointment with your CHI St. Joseph Health primary care physician. They can refer you to a CHI St. Joseph Health neurologist for further testing and treatment if needed.

Sources:

National Multiple Sclerosis Society | Definition of MS
National Multiple Sclerosis Society | Multiple Sclerosis FAQs
National Multiple Sclerosis Society | Comprehensive Care
Healthline | Nervous System

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