Multiple sclerosis, or M.S. for short, is a disease that impacts the central nervous system and causes communication issues between your brain and the rest of your body. There’s no cure, but an early diagnosis can help doctors treat the disease better.
Nearly 1 million people in the United States are living with Multiple sclerosis. It’s an unpredictable disease that can be debilitating.
Augusto Miravalle, MD, Assoc. Prof. of Neurology, University of Florida College of Medicine said, “That’s why it is very important to emphasize early diagnosis, early access to specialized centers in which they will not only make the correct diagnosis but also offer patients a personalized, customized, a patient centralized approach because every patient is different.”
One sign not to ignore: Vision problems. Inflammation can affect your optic nerve and cause blurred vision, double vision, or loss of vision. Another common symptom: Tingling or numbness. Pain is another red flag. Dizziness and balance problems are also common.
“The amount of disability in every patient is different and those with that difference have to do with factors including the number of lesions in the brain, where lesions are located,” said Doctor Miravalle.
About half of people with M.S. will develop some type of cognitive problem, such as memory trouble, language issues, or difficulty paying attention.
Another common sign: A dysfunctional bladder. It occurs in up to 80 percent of patients with M.S.
Getting an accurate diagnosis isn’t always easy.
One study found that nearly 75% of M.S. specialists had seen at least three patients over the past year who had been misdiagnosed.
Depression, irritability, and mood swings can also be symptoms. And sexual dysfunction is another issue that may signal M.S.