The majority of patients with multiple sclerosis usually experience their first signs or symptoms between the age of 20 to 40 years. The symptoms usually get better with time, but they may also relapse. Interestingly, not two MS patients experience the same signs or symptoms. A patient may have a single symptom for weeks to months or even years. In some cases, symptoms appear only once, resolve and never come back. For other people, the signs and symptoms may get worse over time. So, it’s important to keep track of the all the signs or symptoms you experience with time as it will help your health care provider understand, monitor and treat your condition accordingly.
Early Signs of MS
Clinically, multiple sclerosis can be divided into various stages depending on the onset and pattern of the symptoms. The first array of symptoms that initiate multiple sclerosis is called CIS (clinically isolated syndrome). This syndrome includes symptoms that usually last less than 24 hours. In CIS, your immune system starts attacking the myelin sheath, and this results in demyelination of the nerves. This further leads to scar and lesion formation that makes it harder for nerve impulses to travel between your brain and other body parts. The clinically isolated syndrome is further divided into two types:
- Monofocal: You may experience just one symptom.
- Multifocal: You will experience more than one symptom.
The common sign and symptoms of CIS include:
1) Vision problems
Visual disturbance and problems related to the visual field are one of the most common symptoms of the clinically isolated syndrome. According to clinical trials and modern diagnostic facilities, these problems are found to be due to the involvement of the optic nerve. Multiple sclerosis causes optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve), and this can lead to visual disturbances such as double vision, blurred vision and complete loss of vision from one or both eyes. You may not be able to immediately recognize the changes in your vision as they progress slowly. Some other vision-related problems include:
- Pain in the eyes when you look up or sideways
- Swelling of your eyelids
- Eye color appears dull