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Symptoms/Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis


There are over 50 symptoms that are linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), which are vague and hard to quantify, mimic the symptoms of other diseases, and often come and go. This makes MS a challenging disease to diagnose. While diagnosis is becoming easier with the increased availability of MRIs, definitive diagnosis of MS is still a process that requires time and patience.
  1. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Basics
  2. Common Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  3. Mysterious or Rare Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis
  4. MS Symptoms That Are Often Overlooked or Misdiagnosed
  5. Understanding Your Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Symptoms
  6. Diagnosis of MS
  7. MRIs and Other Tests
  1. Fatigue and MS
  2. Heat Intolerance and MS
  3. Depression and MS
  4. Progressive Multiple Sclerosis
  5. Multiple Sclerosis Relapses, Exacerbations, Flares, Attacks
  6. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Diagnosis of MS

Reading an MRI

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.

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.

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.

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 - Orange Couch

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.

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.

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