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World Multiple Sclerosis Day: Early Signs And Symptoms Of This Disease You Must Know

As of World Multiple Sclerosis Day on 30th of May, over 2.3 million reportedly suffer from this invisible disease. Here's what you should know.



  1. The disease may hide in plain sight and is very difficult to detect
  2. Look out for muscle pain and loss of control
  3. Electric shock sensation in the neck called Lhermitte's sign important

World Multiple Sclerosis Day is observed on May 30. The day is meant to raise awareness about multiple sclerosis, the invisible symptoms and unseen impact of the disease. Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder which is common among young adults. There have been over 2.3 million reported cases of multiple sclerosis, where thousands live undiagnosed and unaware of the condition. The disease affects the central nervous system, through the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves, and can lead to chronic disabilities. No single medical test is capable of confirming the disease, so a medical professional will use multiple means to decide. These include MRI scans of the brain and spine, spinal fluid analysis, evoked potential test to name a few.

Here are some signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis that you must note: 

1. Muscle weakness and spasms: A patient may feel hindered functioning of some of the muscles, primarily due to nerve damage. Damaged nerves in the spinal cord and brain cause excruciating spasms, usually in the legs. These are early signs of the disease.

2. Numbness and Lhermitte's sign: A throbbing pins-and-needles sensation is a common symptom. Affecting all parts of the human body, the one to look out for is the Lhermitte's sign which is an electric shock-type sensation when moving the neck. The Lhermitte's sign is a key symptom and any individual experiencing it, must immediately consult a medical professional.

3. Loss of bladder and bowel control: One must also look out for constipation and loss of bladder control. Both can lead to a loss in voluntary control of excretion.


Multiple Sclerosis can make you lose control over your bladder
Photo Credit: iStock

Also read: Beware! Paint And Varnish Exposure May Increase Multiple Sclerosis Risk

4. Fatigue and loss of balance: An extremely common symptom, abnormal bouts of fatigue and unexpected dizziness often ails the patient. In addition, the patient may face loss in balance and limb coordination troubles. Most importantly, the patient may experience a change in gait because of weakened muscles, fatigue and coordination troubles.

5. Mental ailments and loss of sex drive: Nerve damage in the brain can lead to unusual emotional fluctuations, even causing depression in certain cases. Patient is also likely to lose their sex drive.

6. Vision complications: Due to damage to the optic nerve, the individual is likely to suffer vision complications, usually one eye at a time. Double or blurred vision are common, and extreme cases may also include partial or total loss of vision, even a red-green colour distortion.

Also read: BMI Plays Significant Role In Progression Of Multiple Sclerosis: Study

7. Loss of memory and focus: Nerve damage in the brain may induce memory loss and a serious lack of focus. This will hamper the cognitive ability of an individual making it difficult to concentrate on work or education.

8. Other secondary symptoms: The symptoms above are important and one must always be on the lookout for them. But, certain secondary symptoms such as headache, itching, urinary tract infections, speech disorders are also prevalent.

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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