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Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Overview (Part 2)

ms patient

What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

Speech-Related Symptoms

Some people with MS report having difficulty speaking, often due to slurring their speech. Others struggle with understanding language. Still others “lose words” mid-sentence, or switch words or syllables when speaking. These difficulties are probably related to the cognitive symptoms discussed below.

Cognitive Symptoms

About 50% of people with MS experience cognitive difficulties, although some estimates are closer to 80%. These symptoms are usually seen as problems with attention, memory and concentration. Some people with MS have difficulty making decisions, thinking abstractly and generalizing. These cognitive problems are not usually severe and may not be directly noticed by the person with MS. Friends and family members are sometimes better at estimating cognitive changes that the person with MS.

Mental Health Symptoms

Many MS patients (some estimate that as many as 50 percent) suffer from depression at some point. While sometimes this is a reaction to the effects that MS is having on their lives, often this depression is directly caused by MS itself.

 Depression can also be a side effect of the interferon disease-modifying therapies (Avonex, Rebif and Betaseron). Regardless of the cause, it is important to seek help for depression. About 10% of MS patients also are affected by other mental illnesses such as anxiety and paranoia. Five percent may suffer from “laughing/weeping syndrome,” also called involuntary emotional expression disorder (IEED) or pseudobulbar affect, which causes the person to experience periods of laughing or crying which is unrelated to their mood or an event.

Bladder and Bowel Symptoms

Dysfunction in the workings of the bladder or bowels occurs in up to 80% of people with MS. These symptoms appear as difficulty in urinating (urinary hesitancy), a sudden urge to urinate (urinary urgency), frequent urination or incontinence (leakage of urine or loss of control of urination). Bowel symptoms usually manifest as constipation, although diarrhea can also occur. Many of these types of symptoms can be managed with medications, combined with modifications in diet, fluid intake and habits.

Heat Sensitivity

In most MS patients, warm temperatures or an increase in the body’s temperature from exertion can cause a temporary worsening of MS symptoms. These symptoms return to normal once body temperature is reduced.

paroxysmal -symptoms of multiple sclerosis

Cooling products, common sense and avoiding sources of heat (like steam rooms) can prevent heat-related symptoms.


Sources:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research. NIH Publication No. 96-75. Last updated February 09, 2007.

By Julie Stachowiak, Ph.D., About.com


Other links:

Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms Overview (Part 1)

5 Reasons Girls Should Play Sports

Causes and Physical Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction

Addiction and Health

How Drugs Work

What is drug addiction treatment?

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