What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

What Are the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis?

The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary individually depending on which areas in the nervous system are destroyed by the disease.

• In the early stages, blurred vision, double vision, distortion of the colors red and green, and even blindness in one eye

• Degenerated muscles in the extremities and thus the inability to stand or walk; in severe cases, paralysis

• Attention deficit and memory decline

• Trembling and slurred speech

Multiple sclerosis—characterized by the immune cells attacking myelin, mistaking it as foreign—is an autoimmune disorder. Myelin, a fatty white substance surrounding the outermost layer of nerve fibers, forms an electrically insulating layer necessary for proper signal transmission in the nervous system. The function of myelin resembles that of the insulating plastic layer wrapped around electric wires. Destruction of myelin in the nerve fiber disrupts signal transmission from the brain to other parts of the body and causes the deterioration of the nerve fiber as well as the permanent loss of its function. In severe cases, multiple sclerosis patients have problems with simple daily tasks, such as walking, eating, reading, and urinating. Multiple sclerosis is not contagious or fatal. The cause of the disease is still largely unknown. Both genetics and viral infections are linked to the disease. In the US, about 400,000 people are afflicted with multiple sclerosis.