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Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

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Definition

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system).

Symptoms

Symptoms vary, because the location and severity of each attack can be different. Episodes can last for days, weeks, or months. These episodes alternate with periods of reduced or no symptoms (remissions).

Fever, hot baths, sun exposure, and stress can trigger or worsen attacks.

It is common for the disease to return (relapse). However, the disease may continue to get worse without periods of remission.

Because nerves in any part of the brain or spinal cord may be damaged, patients with multiple sclerosis can have symptoms in many parts of the body.

Muscle symptoms:

  • Loss of balance
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or abnormal sensation in any area
  • Problems moving arms or legs
  • Problems walking
  • Problems with coordination and making small movements
  • Tremor in one or more arms or legs
  • Weakness in one or more arms or legs

Bowel and bladder symptoms:

Eye symptoms:

Numbness, tingling, or pain

  • Facial pain
  • Painful muscle spasms
  • Tingling, crawling, or burning feeling in the arms and legs

Other brain and nerve symptoms:

Sexual symptoms:

Speech and swallowing symptoms:

Fatigue is a common and bothersome symptoms as MS progresses. It is often worse in the late afternoon.

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