Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Symptoms, Diagnosis, and More


Several sclerosis (MS) is a chronic condition including your central nervous system (CNS). With MS, your immune system attacks myelin, which is the protective layer around nerve fibers. MS causes swelling and short-lived lesions. It can likewise cause lasting lesions triggered by scar tissue, which can make it hard for your brain to send out signals to the rest of your body. There’s no treatment for MS, however it’s possible to handle symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of MS?

People with MS experience a vast array of signs. Due to the nature of the disease, symptoms can differ widely from person to person.

They can also alter in intensity from year to year, month to month, and even daily.

Here are some of the most common signs connected with MS.


Around 80 percent of individuals with MS report having fatigue, according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS). Fatigue that occurs with MS can make it harder for you to go about your daily jobs.

Difficulty Walking

Difficulty walking can accompany MS due to:

  • numbness in your legs or feet
  • difficulty balancing
  • muscle weakness
  • muscle spasticity
  • difficulty with vision

Difficulty walking can likewise lead to injuries if you fall.

Vision Problems

Vision issues are typically some of the very first signs for many people with MS. Vision problems might affect one or both eyes. These problems might come and go, or worsen over time. They can likewise solve completely.

Some typical vision problems related to MS include:

  • optic neuritis, which can trigger discomfort or blurry vision in one eye
  • diplopia, or double vision
  • nystagmus, or involuntary movement of the eyes
  • blindness

Speech Issues

MS causes lesions in the brain that can affect speech. These speech concerns, also called dysarthria, can vary from mild to serious.

Signs of dysarthria can include the following:

  • slurred speech
  • “scanning” speech, where there are long pauses in between words or syllables
  • changes in volume of speech

Other Symptoms

Other fairly common signs of MS include:

  • acute or chronic pain
  • tremors
  • cognitive concerns including concentration, memory, and word-finding
  • difficulty chewing and swallowing
  • sleep concerns
  • problems with bladder control.

How is MS Diagnosed?

A health care expert, frequently a neurologist, will need to carry out a neurological exam. They will likewise talk with you about your clinical history and order a series of other tests to figure out if you have MS.

Diagnostic screening might include the following:

  • MRI scan. Using a contrast dye with the MRI allows your doctor to spot active and non-active lesions throughout your brain and spinal cord.
  • Optical coherence tomography (OCT). In this test, an image is taken of the nerve layers in the back of your eye to check for thinning around the optic nerve.
  • Spine tap (lumbar leak). Your doctor may purchase a spine tap to discover abnormalities in your spinal fluid. This test can help eliminate transmittable diseases. It can likewise be utilized to look for oligoclonal bands (OCBs), which can be used to diagnose MS.
  • Blood tests. Doctors order blood tests to help eliminate the possibility of other conditions that have comparable symptoms.
  • Visual stimulated potentials (VEP) test. This test needs the stimulation of nerve pathways to evaluate electrical activity in your brain. In the past, brain stem auditory-evoked and sensory-evoked possible tests were likewise used to diagnose MS.

An MS medical diagnosis requires evidence of demyelination happening at different times in more than one location of your brain, spinal cord, or optic nerves. Demyelination is a process that avoids nerves from effectively sending out signals.

A diagnosis likewise needs eliminating other conditions that have comparable signs. Lyme disease, lupus, and Sjögren’s illness are simply a few examples.

What Are the Kinds of MS?

Types of MS include:

Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS)

CIS is a pre-MS condition involving 1 episode of signs lasting a minimum of 24 hours. These signs are because of demyelination in your CNS.

Although this episode is characteristic of MS, it’s not enough to prompt a diagnosis.

If there’s more than one lesion or favorable oligoclonal band (OCB) in your spine fluid at the time of a spine tap, you’re more likely to receive a diagnosis of RRMS.

If these lesions aren’t present or your back fluid doesn’t reveal OCBs, you’re less likely to receive an MS medical diagnosis.

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS)

Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) involves clear relapses of illness activity followed by remissions. During remission periods, symptoms are mild or absent, and there’s mild to moderate disease progression.

RRMS is the most common form of MS at beginning and accounts for about 85 percent of all cases, according to NMSS.

Primary Progressive MS (PPMS)

If you have main progressive MS (PPMS), neurological function becomes progressively even worse from the beginning of your signs.

Nevertheless, short durations of stability can occur. The terms “active” and “not active” are often utilized to describe illness activity with new or improving brain lesions.

Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS)

Secondary progressive MS (SPMS) happens when RRMS shifts into the progressive form. You may still have obvious relapses in addition to disability or steady worsening of function.

The Bottom Line

Your MS may change and progress — for example, going from RRMS to SPMS.

You can just have one type of MS at a time, however understanding when you shift to a progressive form of MS might be challenging to determine.

How is MS Treated?

No remedy is presently offered for MS, but treatment alternatives exist that can assist you handle your signs and enhance your lifestyle.

Disease-modifying Therapies (DMTs)

DMTs are designed to slow the development of MS and lower your relapse rate.

Self-injectable disease-modifying medications for RRMS include glatiramer acetate (Copaxone) and beta interferons, such as:

  • Avonex.
  • Betaseron.
  • Extavia.
  • Plegridy.
  • Rebif.

In 2020 the FDA authorized Kesimpta for treatment. Kesimpta is a monoclonal antibody treatment that can be self-administered.

Oral medications for RRMS include:

  • dimethyl fumarate (Tecfidera).
  • fingolimod (Gilenya).
  • teriflunomide (Aubagio).
  • cladribine (Mavenclad).
  • diroximel fumarate (Vumerity).
  • siponimod (Mayzent).

Intravenous (IV) infusion treatments for RRMS include:

  • alemtuzumab (Lemtrada).
  • natalizumab (Tysabri).
  • mitoxantrone (Novantrone).
  • Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus).

In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the very first DMT for individuals with PPMS. This infusion drug is called ocrelizumab (Ocrevus), and it can likewise be used to treat RRMS.

Another drug, ozanimod (Zeposia), has recently been approved for treating CIS, RRMS, and SPMS, however it isn’t yet marketed due to COVID-19.

Not all MS medications will be offered or proper for each individual. Talk with your doctor about which drugs are most suitable for you and the dangers and benefits of each one.

Other Medications

Your doctor can recommend corticosteroids, such as methylprednisolone (Medrol) or Acthar Gel (ACTH), to treat relapses.

Other treatments might likewise be targeted at easing particular symptoms to assist improve your quality of life.

Due to the fact that MS is different for everybody, treatment depends upon your specific signs. For a lot of, a versatile approach is needed.

Information verified by the team.

What Causes MS?

If you have MS, the protective layer of myelin around some of the nerve fibers of your brain, optic nerve, and spinal cord ended up being damaged.

It’s thought that the damage is the outcome of a body immune system attack. Researchers believe there could be an ecological trigger, such as a virus or contaminant, that sets off the immune system attack.

As your body immune system attacks myelin, it triggers demyelination. This can enter into remission as new layers of myelin type, however chronic inflammation can lead to scar tissue, which can lead to lasting neurological impairment.

MS isn’t hereditary, but having a parent or sibling with MS raises your risk somewhat. Researchers have determined some genes that appear to increase vulnerability to establishing MS, according to an evaluation of research studies released in 2011.

What is the Life Expectancy for People With MS?

It’s almost impossible to predict how MS will progress in any a single person. Life expectancy in those with MS is increasing, according to NMSS.

About 10 to 15 percent of individuals with MS have just unusual attacks and very little disability ten years after medical diagnosis, according to NMSS. It’s typically presumed they’re not on treatment or injectable medications. This is sometimes called benign MS.

MS Type

Progressive MS typically advances faster than RRMS. Individuals with RRMS can be in remission for many years. An absence of special needs after 5 years is normally an excellent indicator for the future.


The disease tends to be more extreme and debilitating in men, according to a 2018 review of studies.

The Bottom Line

Your lifestyle with MS will depend on your symptoms and how well you react to treatment. But although this unforeseeable disease can change course without warning, it’s seldom fatal.

Most people with MS don’t become significantly disabled, and continue to lead complete lives.

What Are the Early Signs of MS?

MS can develop all at once, or the signs can be so mild that you easily dismiss them. Three of the most common early symptoms of MS are:.

  • Numbness and tingling that impacts the arms, legs, or one side of your face. These experiences are similar to the pins-and-needles feeling you get when your foot falls asleep. Nevertheless, they take place without a trigger.
  • Uneven balance and weak legs. You might find yourself tripping quickly while walking or doing some other kind of physical activity.
  • Double vision, blurry vision in one eye, or partial vision loss. These can be an early sign of MS. You may likewise have eye pain.

It isn’t uncommon for these early signs to go away just to return later on. You might go weeks, months, and even years in between flare-ups.

These signs can have several causes. Even if you have these symptoms, it doesn’t always imply that you have MS.

RRMS is more typical in women, whereas PPMS is similarly common in women and men. The majority of professionals think that MS in men tends to be more aggressive and recovery from relapses is often insufficient.

What’s it Like to Live with MS?

Many people with MS discover methods to handle their signs and work well.


Having MS means you’ll require to see a doctor experienced in dealing with MS.

If you take one of the DMTs, you’ll need to abide by the suggested schedule. Your doctor might recommend other medications to deal with specific signs.

Diet and Exercise

Routine exercise is necessary for physical and mental health, even if you have impairments.

If physical movement is hard, swimming or working out in a swimming pool can help. Some yoga classes are created just for individuals with MS.

A well-balanced diet, low in empty calories and high in nutrients and fiber, will assist you handle your total health.

Your diet plan should primarily consist of:

  • a variety of vegetables and fruits.
  • lean sources of protein, such as fish and skinless poultry.
  • whole grains and other sources of fiber.
  • nuts.
  • legumes.
  • low fat dairy products.
  • adequate quantities of water and other fluids.

The much healthier your diet, the better your general health. You’ll not just feel better in the short-term, but you’ll also be laying the structure for a much healthier future.

You ought to try to restrict or prevent:

  • saturated fat.
  • trans fat.
  • red meats.
  • foods and drinks high in sugar.
  • foods high in salt.
  • highly processed foods.

If you have other medical conditions, ask your doctor if you should follow a special diet or take any dietary supplements.

It’s valuable to find out how to correctly read food labels. Foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients will not assist you feel better or keep a weight that works for you.

Other Complementary Therapies

Research studies relating to the efficiency of complementary therapies are scarce, but that doesn’t mean these techniques can’t help in some way.

The following treatments may help you feel less stressed and more relaxed:

  • meditation.
  • massage.
  • tai chi.
  • acupuncture.
  • hypnotherapy.

What Are the Risk Factors for MS?

The precise cause of MS is still unknown. However, there are several threat factors for establishing MS.

These risk factors include:

  • having a close relative with MS.
  • obesity.
  • certain infections.
  • smoking.
  • certain autoimmune disorders, like type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

What Are the Complications of MS?

The lesions MS triggers can appear throughout your CNS and have extensive effects.

Mobility Issues

As you age, some impairments MS causes might become more pronounced.

If you have mobility problems, falling might put you at an increased risk for bone fractures. Having other conditions, such as arthritis and osteoporosis, can make complex matters.

Other Concerns

One of the most common symptoms of MS is fatigue, but it’s not unusual for people with MS to likewise have:

  • depression.
  • anxiety.
  • some degree of cognitive impairment.

The Bottom Line

Mobility issues can cause a lack of physical activity, which can trigger other illness. Fatigue and mobility concerns might also have a result on sexual function.

What Are the Statistics on MS?

According to NMSS, there hasn’t been a scientifically sound nationwide research study on the frequency of MS in the United States since 1975.

In a 2017 study, nevertheless, the Society estimated that around 1 million Americans have MS.

Other things you need to understand:

  • MS is the most prevalent neurological condition that causes young adults to live with specials needs worldwide.
  • The majority of people diagnosed with RRMS are between ages 20 and 50 at the time of their medical diagnosis.
  • In general, MS is more typical in women than men. According to NMSS, RRMS is two to three times more typical in women than males. PPMS rates in women and men are roughly equivalent.
  • Rates of MS tend to be lower in places that are closer to the equator. This may relate to sunshine and vitamin D direct exposure. People who relocate to a new location prior to age 15 usually obtain the MS threat factors associated with the new area, compared with after age 15. Canadians experience the highest rate of MS in the world.
  • Data from 1999 to 2008 showed that direct and indirect costs of MS were between $8,528 and $54,244 per year. Current DMTs for RRMS can cost approximately $60,000 a year. Ocrelizumab (Ocrevus) costs $65,000 a year.


MS is a long-lasting condition. You’ll face distinct obstacles that can alter with time.

You ought to focus on communicating your concerns with your doctor, discovering all you can about MS, and discovering what makes you feel your finest.

Lots of people with MS even pick to share their challenges and coping strategies through in-person or online support system.

Ali Gadimov
Health Recovery Tips