Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the brain and spinal cord, leading to nerve damage. The symptoms of the disease are easy to mistake for many other health issues.
According to the National MS Society, about one million people in the United States suffer from multiple sclerosis. They also estimate that 2.3 million people have MS globally.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, but well-chosen MS management options can speed recovery from attacks and help slow down the progression of the disease. Treatments for MS attacks include plasma exchange and corticosteroids. Treatments to modify progression include interferon-beta medications, glatiramer acetate, and neurological rehabilitation.
Given that MS has nonspecific symptoms, it’s essential to be aware of early signs to prevent serious nerve damage. Here are some silent symptoms of multiple sclerosis:
1. You experience constant dizziness
Constant dizziness for an unknown reason is a common sign of multiple sclerosis. The nerve damage caused by MS primarily impacts your motor, sensory, and coordination skills, which can contribute to feelings of disorientation and dizziness.
2. You have lots of bruises from falling
Clumsiness is one of the most overlooked symptoms of multiple sclerosis since it’s kind of embarrassing. People might simply think they have a bad balance. However, having weakness in one or both of your legs, which often first shows up as tripping, stumbling, unsteadiness, and falling, might be an indication that something is wrong with your motor nerves. Unexplained multiple bruises are also one of the silent symptoms of leukemia you shouldn’t ignore.
3. You have vision changes
Probably everyone has days where they show up to work wearing one black sock and one brown sock. However, if you frequently have a hard time telling colors apart, especially when it was usually easy for you, that’s a bad sign.
4. You experience tingling in your fingers
Becoming partially blind, color blind, or blind in one eye is one of the first signs of this autoimmune condition. This problem is called optic neuritis and it occurs due to a loss of insulation around the optic nerves in the brain.
5. You started to experience memory problems
You’re probably familiar with that prickly pins-and-needles feeling when you stand up after you’ve leaned on an arm or leg for too long, temporarily blocking blood flow. However, if you experience numbness, burning, or a tingly sensation in your feet and hands for an unknown reason, that’s something you need to tell your doctor about.
6. Your clothing feels funny
Many MS sufferers report that their bodies feel different in terms of sensations, from one part to the next. For instance, when they put on their shirt, it feels differently sliding over the chest than it does going over the stomach. The sensory problems can be difficult to explain, but if you realize that you have them, it’s best to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
7. You are unable to urinate for more than 24 hours
Drinking a lot and hardly peeing is a red flag. This symptom is actually a hallmark of multiple sclerosis. It’s often one of the first signs that make people turn to a doctor. Any change in urinary frequency might indicate multiple sclerosis. However, in most cases, it’s the inability to urinate for more than 24 hours.
8. Your hands don’t feel cold or hot temperature
If your tea tastes warm but you don’t feel it through the mug, this might be provoked by MS-induced nerve damage in your hands.