Do you have a shock feeling throughout your body or pain behind your eye? These are common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
Your immune system is designed to recognize and attack foreign elements that enter your body such as bacteria and viruses. The immune system is trained to recognize your own body and avoid attacking your own cells and organs. Sometimes the immune system forgets how your cells look like and start attacking itself - this is called autoimmune disease.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system forgets how your nerves look like and starts attacking your nerves, specifically the nerve sheets. Nerve sheets work as signal accelerator and amplifier when they are attacked by the crazy immune system and damaged, nerve signals become weak and slow. At the beginning of the disease the nerves are able to replace the damaged sheets and recover most of its function but as Multiple Sclerosis progresses it causes a permanent damage to the nerves. Severe Multiple Sclerosis can cause significant disabilities.
Symptoms differ from patient to patient depending on the nerves that are affected and amount of damage. Symptoms of early Multiple sclerosis are difficult to recognize because they come and go, and that's why early stages of multiple sclerosis can be difficult to diagnose.
Most common symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.
- Weakness or numbness in the arm or leg.
- Blurring of vision due to visual nerve damage or due to double vision.
- Pain when moving your eye with loss of vision; this is called optic neuritis.
- Shock sensations these are like electricity passing throughout the body occurs with head movements.
- Feeling as if you are drunk with unsteady gait and lack of coordination.
- You feel tired most of the time.
- Slurred speech
- These symptoms can be exacerbated by heat and hot weather.
Multiple Sclerosis usually occurs as episodes of neurological symptoms followed by a period of remission (weeks, months or even years) and then another episode with different neurological symptoms. This relapsing remitting nature might change into continuous worsening or sometimes to a long lasting remission.
What to expect from the doctor?
Usually the doctor will suspect the diagnosis from the medical history from your symptoms. Then your doctor will order several tests to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other medical conditions that can have similar presentation and symptoms.
Tests that are usually ordered
- Blood tests
- Lumbar puncture also called spinal tab. In order to analyze the spinal fluid a doctor or nurse will insert a needle into your spine.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Doctors can also inject a dye into your blood vessel to differentiate active disease from old lesions due to a previous Multiple Sclerosis attacks.
- Evoked potential test. This is to measure the speed of nerve impulse transmission along the nerves. If this speed is decreased that tells the doctor that this nerve is damaged.
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