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MS Symptoms and Signs: Early and Advanced Stages

MS Symptoms and Signs

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common neurological disorders found in people from all around the world. In fact, it's estimated that almost 1 million people in the US have it alone. 

MS isn't an inherited disorder, but you can have a genetic predisposition to it. If one or both of your parents have it, your chances of developing it will go up. 

This disease is also more prevalent in females than males. These are only a few things that you should know about the condition. Keep reading for a list of MS symptoms and signs that you need to be on the lookout for.

What Is Multiple Sclerosis? 

Multiple sclerosis is a neurological disorder that causes a person's immune system to attack the protective myelin sheath around their nerve fibers. As time moves on, it can lead to permanent nerve damage. 

Those with advanced MS could lose their ability to walk. Some people go into a remission period where they don't experience many new symptoms at all. 

Unfortunately, there is no cure for MS. If you have it, all you can do is pursue treatments that will help you manage your symptoms. 

Early MS Symptoms and Signs 

This disabling disease begins with clinically isolated syndrome and vision issues. From there, it can spin off into fatigue, numbness, and pain. 

Not everyone experiences all of the warning MS symptoms and signs. You could never feel a bit of fatigue, for example. 

Clinically Isolated Syndrome

Clinically isolated syndrome is thought of as the beginning episode of MS. It's the first time you experience any kind of numbness or tingling. 

During this stage, you can't start seeking out information on Multiple Sclerosis and Disability Benefits quite yet. You'll have to start noticing more than one symptom before your doctor can diagnose you. 

After clinically isolated syndrome, you'll go through a period where your symptoms will lessen or stop altogether. 

Vision Issues 

Your optic nerve sends signals to your brain to help it process the things that you see. If the shield around the optic nerve deteriorates, it will disrupt those signals. 

You won't be able to see color as well as you did before. Your vision may become blurry. Any form of eye movement will be painful. 

When you're still in the early stages of MS, you can expect your vision issues to clear up within five weeks or so. Only a small portion of individuals experience total long-term eye-related issues. 


At the end of a hard day, you may come home feeling a bit winded. It's a normal response to physical and mental exhaustion. 

What's not normal is when you feel fatigued for no reason. That's one of the most common early MS symptoms and signs. Unfortunately, it won't go away after getting a good night's sleep.


Pain is the most difficult symptom that people deal with. As your nerve fibers begin to deteriorate, you'll experience burning, itching, and sharp stabbing sensations. 

Pain isn't always caused by direct nerve damage. It can happen due to the strain that other MS symptoms put on your body. 

Advanced Symptoms

As your condition worsens, so will your symptoms. You'll begin to notice more fatigue and pain. 

On top of that, you may develop cognitive issues or find it more difficult to speak. Some have problems with swallowing and breathing. 

Urinary and bowel issues also aren't unheard of. Most people with MS also experience mood disorders such as depression. 

Cognitive and Mood Problems 

Many people with advanced MS find it more difficult to process information and remember things. The cognitive impairment will only get worse as the disease progresses. 

On top of cognitive decline, advanced MS can lead to neuropsychiatric changes. You may feel sudden bouts of euphoria. Without warning, you could get angry and begin lashing out. 

Difficulties Speaking, Swallowing, and Breathing 

MS can cause the muscles and nerves responsible for speaking, breathing, and swallowing to weaken. This will make it more difficult for you to communicate with your loved ones and caregivers. 

When you can't swallow your food properly, it can lead to a serious complication known as aspiration respiration. It occurs when food manages to make it into your lungs. 

Those with MS are also more vulnerable to infections and respiratory issues because they can't fight off bacteria. 

Urinary and Bowel Issues 

The nerve damage that occurs with MS can lead to urinary issues. You may find it difficult to hold your urine for a long period of time. 

Sometimes the exact opposite problem happens. You can't empty your bladder and end up holding it for too long. This could cause you to develop urinary tract infections. 

You could also experience severe bowel issues such as constipation and diarrhea. 


Most people with MS have depression to some degree for a few different reasons. The first one is the pain that comes with MS can be overwhelming. 

The second is due to the disease's habit of altering a person's mood. The third and final reason is the medications that are required to treat MS can cause depression as a nasty side effect. 

MS Symptoms and Signs to Be Aware Of 

Multiple sclerosis is one of the most common neurological disorders. While there isn't any way to cure it, doctors can treat common MS symptoms and signs. 

If you experience a loss of vision in one or both of your eyes, imbalance, double vision, tingling in your legs or arms, or extreme fatigue, it might be time for you to make an appointment. 

For more information on MS and what you can expect, visit the Health & Fitness section of our blog. 

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