Symptoms/Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis
By Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D., About.com Guide
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Basics
- Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Mysterious or Rare Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
- MS Symptoms That Are Often Overlooked or Misdiagnosed
- Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms
- Diagnosis of MS
- MRIs and Other Tests
- Fatigue and MS
- Heat Intolerance and MS
- Depression and MS
- Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis Relapses, Exacerbations, Flares, Attacks
- Symptom Management Tips
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Basics
There is much more to an MS diagnosis than a simple "Yes, you have MS." There are different types of MS and varying levels of disability. Upon diagnosis, many people want to know why they have MS. The causes of MS are largely unknown, though researchers believe that a combination of environmental factors, immune system activity, infection and genetics are at work in causing multiple sclerosis.
Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
There are over 50 signs and symptoms linked with multiple sclerosis (MS). Your symptoms will vary in their duration, severity and treatment.
- Bladder Dysfunction
- Numbness and Tingling as a Symptom of MS
- Optic Neuritis as a Symptom of MS
- Erectile Dsyfunction as a Symptom of MS
- Vertigo as a Symptom of Multiple Sclerosis
- Loss of Proprioception in MS
- Fatigue and Multiple Sclerosis
- Depression and Multiple Sclerosis
- Heat Intolerance and Multiple Sclerosis
Mysterious or Rare Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
Some MS symptoms are so strange or vague that doctors routinely misdiagnose them or ignore patients' complaints, leading to frustration and delayed diagnosis. Other symptoms occur infrequently, and doctors are simply not used to seeing them or treating them and patients may not know that they are linked to their MS.
- The "MS Hug"
- Involuntary Emotional Expression Disorder (Pseudobulbar Affect)
- Trigeminal Neuralgia, Tic Doloreux, Severe Facial Pain
- Why Are My Pupils Different Sizes Sometimes?
MS Symptoms That Are Often Overlooked or Misdiagnosed
Even after a person is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), certain symptoms are often not taken seriously or people are told that these problems "could not possibly be related to their MS" - even by their neurologist or treating physician. Be assured that the following are very real symptoms of MS.
- Headaches as a Symptom of MS
- Problems Swallowing as a Symptom of MS
- Constipation as a Symptom of MS
- Respiratory Problems and Coughing as a Symptom of MS
Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms
Multiple sclerosis (MS) has a wide range of symptoms and signs. From cognitive difficulties to problems controlling muscles, MS can have an effect on almost any body system. By knowing the symptoms you can more actively manage your MS.
- MS Symptoms and Signs Overview
- Keep an MS Symptom Log
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About Pain
- Ask Your Friends About Your Symptoms
Diagnosis of MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is challenging and involves lengthy neurological exams and several different types of tests, many used to rule out other causes of symptoms. Diagnosis also involves determining type of MS, whether the MS is definitive and the extent of disability.
- Overview of MS Diagnosis
- Types of MS
- The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS)
- Is There a Test That Can Determine If I Have MS After Only One Relapse?
- Diagnosis of Primary Progressive MS
MRIs and Other Tests
With the increased availability of magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), neurologists can now look at the brain and spinal cord for MS lesions.
- What to Expect During Your MRI
- Optimizing Your MRI Experience
- How Often Should I Get an MRI?
- Gadolinium Warning for People with Kidney Disease
Fatigue and MS
Fatigue is the most common symptom of multiple sclerosis - it is estimated that between 85 and 95 percent of people with MS experience MS-related fatigue at some point.
- Fatigue Overview
- Causes of Fatigue in MS
- Symmetrel for MS-related Fatigue
- Provigil for MS-related Fatigue
Heat Intolerance and MS
If you have multiple sclerosis (MS), there is a good chance that you have felt negative effects from the heat in the form of increased symptoms from pseudoexacerbations. These symptoms can range from annoying to debilitating, but usually disappear quickly once you cool down.
Depression and MS
Depression is a common symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is often confusing to diagnose, as it shares many of the same symptoms with MS itself. However, if you have MS and are experiencing sadness or loss of interest in things, you need to seek help. A doctor can determine your level of depression and the appropriate treatment.
Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
There are three types of progressive multiple sclerosis: primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS), secondary-progressive multiple sclerosis (SPMS) and progressive-relapsing multiple sclerosis (RPMS). Even though there are some similarities, each of these types of MS has its own unique features and challenges.
- Usual Symptoms of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
- Diagnosis of Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS)
- Signs That Relapsing-Remitting MS is Becoming Secondary-Progressive MS
- Why Are There So Few Clinical Trials for People with Progressive MS?
Multiple Sclerosis Relapses, Exacerbations, Flares, Attacks
These terms all mean the same thing and mean that there is acute inflammation taking place in the central nervous system of a person with multiple sclerosis (MS). "Relapse" is often a confusing (and frustrating) distinction to a person with MS, as symptoms often come and go or get worse without a relapse actually taking place. Learn about MS relapses here.
Symptom Management Tips
The discomfort and annoyance of many symptoms can be greatly lessened by trying some different at-home techniques or making simple changes. Hopefully, you can find some relief from some of your more frustrating symptoms here.