Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness that presents many different symptoms since it can affect any part of the human body. While no two people living with MS will experience the same symptoms, according to healthline.com, there are some more common ways the condition affects the body.
Cognitive issues such as brain fog, memory and concentration problems are common for people living with MS and many experience vertigo or dizziness. In rare cases, patients may also suffer from tremors or seizures.
Vision problems are often one of the first signs of MS. Double vision, blurred vision and eye pain can come on suddenly but in most cases, they are temporary and are due to inflammation of the muscles around the eye and can be rectified with medication.
In rare cases of MS, damage to the brainstem may result in hearing problems or deafness. Again, the majority of cases are temporary but some may suffer permanent damage to hearing.
Mouth and throat
Around 40 percent of people living with MS may experience problems with speech, usually slurred speech or trouble articulating. Some may also have trouble controlling the volume of their speech. Rarer still, some people may experience problems with swallowing which can be serious as it can lead to choking. Speech and language therapists can help with both speech and swallowing problems.
Arms and legs
The limbs are most likely to be affected by multiple sclerosis, with patients suffering from a variety of ailments such as pain, numbness, and tingling. Both fine and gross motor skills are involved as hand-to-eye coordination may be affected and many will suffer from balance problems or have difficulty walking as the disease progresses.
Bladder and bowel
Nerve damage can lead to problems controlling the bladder and bowel. Bladder problems are extremely common in MS affecting around 80 percent of patients. Bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea and lack of bowel control can sometimes be managed through diet and exercise but in some cases, medication or surgery may be required.
There is no evidence that suggests MS affects fertility in men or women. And for women, many find that their MS goes into remission during pregnancy. However, between 20 percent and 40 percent will relapse after they have given birth.
Sexual dysfunction is common in MS, this could be due to a variety of reasons both physical and emotional. Nerve damage, fatigue, general pain and the effects of depression can all have an effect on a person’s libido. However, these can often be overcome with some medication or a little bit of planning.
The regular use of steroids and lack of exercise puts multiple sclerosis patients at a higher risk of osteoporosis. Exercise is important to help keep bones strong and healthy and to avoid excess bone density loss. People with multiple sclerosis are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D, which plays a vital role in bone health.
Researchers have discovered that women with MS are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular problems than those without the condition. Regular exercise and a good diet are essential to help avoid problems such as stroke, heart disease or heart failure.