A definitive list of the early signs of multiple sclerosis (MS) does not exist, because different people experience different symptoms at different times. A number of symptoms, however, are common to the disease and may be considered early signs of MS, although their appearance depends on what areas of the brain and/or spinal cord are affected.
The most common initial MS symptoms are excessive fatigue, difficulties with walking or frequent stumbling, numbness or tingling (a feeling of pins and needles), problems with concentration or not thinking as quickly as you normally would, and vision problems.
Other diseases share these same symptoms, however, and only a medical professional, like a neurologist specialized in nervous system disorders — using a number of tests — can correctly diagnose MS.
People concerned that they may be exhibiting MS symptoms are advised to talk with their primary healthcare provider and keep a record of what kind of symptoms they have, how often they occur, their severity, and how long they last. Likewise, they should make note of things they think may trigger the symptoms and how badly these symptoms affect daily routines.
It is important to be aware that a diagnosis can take time, as other possible causes need to be ruled out. Talking to someone who understands or is going through a similar process may help. Support groups aid patients by educating, lending support with disease understanding and management, and in sharing a mutual life experience. Many support group volunteers also are trained to help newly diagnosed and other MS patients meet the challenges of the disease.
Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.