Causes and symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Causes and symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that is common and shows the characteristic flare ups and remittance. There can be varying periods of calm though. The symptoms depend on the nerve under attack and the extent of damage. Symptoms also changes on long time progress of the disease.

Generally, the symptoms are:

  • Bladder problems. Patients suffer either urge incontinence or urine retention. They can suffer frequent urination in night, nocturnal polyuria.
  • The patients have trouble having in bowel clearance, with constipation being the most common. Continued constipation can lead to fecal impaction which if not resolved quickly can lead to bowel incontinence.
  • Cognitive functions are often impaired. The most frequent complaints are problems with memory, abstraction, word finding, attention.
  • Chances of getting depression are found to increase by about 50%. Patients suffer emotional changes during the course of the disease. It is a shock to be diagnosed with an ailment of such unpredictability and debilitation. Besides the loss of myelin in nerves of the brain causes changes in one’s emotional make up.
  • Fatigue, dizziness or vertigo, electric shock like sensation on shaking head.
  • Numbness, typically on one side of the body at a time or generally in the lower half.
  • Decline in sexual appetite is common in both the genders.
  • Spasm of muscles, often painful, and tremors are also experienced.
  • Loss of vision, partial or complete, double vision in one at a time and pain in moving the eyeball.
  • The way patients walk changes due to muscle weakness, fatigue and or dizziness.

MS is absolutely unpredictable and each patient suffers in unique ways. The specific causes are not known. The exact trigger for the immune system to go awry are not known. It is not considered as a hereditary disease though the risk of one developing it are decidedly high in families whose members had developed the disease. A number of genetic variations have been identified which enhance the risk of developing the disease. It is considered a mix of hereditary and environmental factors.

It has been surmised that infectious agents like viruses common to the geographical areas of preponderance of MS can be the cause. Scientific proof for this is lacking. Smoking has been found to make a definitive contribution. Other factors like exposure to industrial chemicals principally solvents lack scientific evidence.