Multiple sclerosis, or MS as it is most commonly known, is a progressive immune-mediated disorder that, over time, breaks down the functions of a healthy body.
Currently, there are about 400,000 people in the United States who suffer from the disease, with folks with Northern European backgrounds having the highest risk of developing it.
Anyone who has been affected by the chronic, often unpredictable disease knows that the symptoms that come with it often vary in severity and can be difficult to manage in the long-term.
Having said that, locking down a correct diagnosis can be considered a relief in some cases, especially considering doctors might have the tendency of writing the warning signs off and treating issues that simply aren’t there. Scary–and frustrating!– stuff.
In today’s video, Michelle Fabian, M.D., a neurologist with The Mount Sinai Hospital, tells us that she frequently treats patients who have, unfortunately, dealt with years of misdiagnoses. It’s a sad situation, of course, but once you consider the more subtle symptoms, it’s easy to see how a general practitioner might suspect something less serious than MS at first.
Let’s take a look at some of the more “benign” symptoms that can come with MS:
Some MS patients suffer from blurred vision in either one eye or both. Other patients complain of double vision.
Numbness is most commonly experienced in parts of the face, but since MS affects the entire nervous system, it can pop up anywhere on the body and move frequently.
Muscle weakness (more about this in the video!) and general lethargy is another hallmark of MS.
Some MS patients complain of dizzy spells that can last moments or even days at a time. This can be attributed to the aforementioned vision problems or could be categorized as an independent symptom.
Bladder and bowel control problems
Though this isn’t as common as the other symptoms, our doctor tells us that she does see MS patients who suffer from bladder and bowel control problems.
About 35-65% of multiple sclerosis patients experience cognitive fatigue, a symptom that can either slow down a person’s learning speed or compromise their memory.
Of course, other nasty symptoms come along with MS, including pains and spasms and even sexual dysfunction. And although the disease itself isn’t fatal, it can make life particularly difficult for those who suffer from it.
To get even more detail about how MS affects its sufferers, specifically how the crippling fatigue and weakness can be spotted so that patients might get an earlier diagnosis, be sure to watch the video below. It’s a scary topic, for sure, but this doctor knows her stuff. If you feel that any of the information rings true for you, make an appointment with your doc right away!
We’d love to hear your take on these subtle MS symptoms. Do you suffer from MS? If so, do you regularly experience any of these symptoms? How long did it take you to get diagnosed? Do you have any tips for fellow MS patients?