Emphasizing that early diagnosis is very important in MS, Neurology Specialist Dr. Esra Mıhçıoğlu said, “The early symptoms of MS are diverse and may resemble other diseases, but knowing these symptoms is very important as early diagnosis and treatment of MS can help delay the progression of MS.”

The immune system attacks the brain and spinal cord

The immune system plays a major role in the development of MS. The immune system normally recognizes its own cells while defending the body against external factors. However, for an unknown reason, the system breaks down and attacks its own cells, especially the cells in the brain and spinal cord that make up the nerve transmission. Stating that movement and coordination are provided thanks to the electrical signals sent by the brain to the body, Esra Mıhçıoğlu said:

“The sheath, such as the covering around nerve cells, that protects nerve cells and helps them carry out their tasks, is called myelin. Damaged areas called ‘plaques’ form when the immune system attacks the myelin sheaths. As a result, there may be deterioration in actions such as walking, speaking and seeing, which we call MS attacks. It is not yet known why the immune system attacks nerve cells. Although some studies show that the risk of MS increases with exposure to the Epstein Barr virus, it has not yet been scientifically proven. Although the disease is chronic, in most cases it is usually mild at first. However, some people may not be able to walk, have normal feeling and balance, and may affect memory as the disease progresses. Treatment with MS drugs has been repeatedly shown to halt this progression.”

Watch out for these signs!

Emphasizing that MS symptoms may come and go, Esra Mıhçıoğlu said, “Therefore, it is easy to ignore or attribute these symptoms to other causes, especially in the early stages. MS symptoms usually begin and worsen over a 24- to 48-hour period. Blurred vision, double vision, fatigue, muscle weakness, coordination-balance disorder, numbness, tingling, thinking and memory problems, pain depression, speech disorder, dizziness, problems with sexual, bowel and bladder function, tremor, paralysis, Partial or complete loss of vision (especially painful) in one eye are symptoms of MS. Some signs and symptoms are more common in the early stages of the disease. Patients may complain of double or blurred vision, numbness, weakness in one or both extremities, instability in walking, tremors, problems with bladder control, and heat intolerance. Sensory examination is the most difficult to perform reliably and accurately in the evaluation of patients. However, some sensory problem distributions may be suspicious for early MS.

MS sign 4 early symptoms

Mıhçıoğlu shared the important symptoms at the point of early diagnosis:

– Increased numbness that begins in the feet;
– Bilateral handshake;
– One-sided arm and leg numbness;
Heat intolerance is an early symptom.

Optic Neuritis is one of the common early symptoms of MS. It is characterized by blurred vision, change in color perception, visual field defect. One of the most common initial presentation symptoms is weakness in both extremities, although weakness may be present in only one extremity or in all four extremities. As the disease progresses, the original signs and symptoms may worsen and new ones may appear.

Early diagnosis is important

Stating that early diagnosis of clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) can be made with family history, Dr. Esra Mıhçıoğlu said, “This allows patients to start treatment early and delay another attack. This is important because some studies suggest that the damage MS causes in the first year can be up to three times greater than in later years. Early diagnosis is important because there is increasing evidence that early intervention is beneficial. According to Trapp et al., axonal loss may be present even in asymptomatic patients early in the disease process. In addition, studies in patients with the first episode of neurological symptoms suggestive of MS have shown reduced disability and lower secondary relapse rates with interferon therapy. Significant advances have been made in the development of treatments for MS over the past two decades. The number of available treatments will increase significantly in the future. The possibility of achieving a disease-free state (no new brain MRI lesions and clinical relapses) is now possible with the use of highly effective disease-modifying agents. For example; “Drugs like interferon and glatiramer acetate reduce the relapse rate by about a third,” he said.

Implement 5 suggestions

Stating that besides drug therapy, life changes are effective on MS, Dr. Esra Mıhçıoğlu listed the recommendations that patients should pay attention to in their daily lives:

– Care about sleep: Maintain a regular sleep schedule and make sure your bedroom is cool, dark and screen-free.

-Eat healthy: There is no “MS diet”. Choose foods low in saturated fat and high in fiber.

-Exercise: Even walking around the street can help. Exercise protects bones and strengthens muscles. It keeps depression away and helps you sleep better.

-Manage your stress: Stress can make your symptoms worse. Meditate, read, journal or chat with friends, find something to help you control the ups and downs.

-Stay cool: A rise in body temperature can make your symptoms worse. Prefer cool environments. Wear loose, breathable clothing outside.

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