Discovered in 1849, multiple sclerosis (MS) is a neurological disorder in which inflammation occurs in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). MS also causes demyelination, in which damage occurs to the myelin sheath, or the covering of the neuron's axon. Without a fully intact myelin, the patient can have problems with multiple regions of her body.
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Because MS affects the nerves, it can result in neurological symptoms. For example, MS can affect cognition, such as attention, memory, problem solving and memory, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Mood problems are also possible, such as depression. The patient can also feel fatigue or dizziness, and the fatigue can worsen later in the day.
Vision and Hearing Problems
Vision and hearing are also affected by MS. During a symptomatic episode, the patient may need help to get around due to these problems. The Mayo Clinic says one vision problem with MS is optic neuritis, in which the patient has partial or total loss of vision with painful eye movements in one eye at a time. Other vision problems include blurred vision, double vision and rapid eye movements. The patient can also have hearing loss. When the patient doesn't have an MS episode, he doesn't have these symptoms or any other MS symptoms.
The damaged myelin sheath prevents the brain from communicating with the muscles, resulting in mobility problems. For example, the patient can have weakness or tremors in one or more limb. The patient can also have muscle spasms, unsteady gait and trouble with moving and coordination.
Sensation is also affected in MS. This can result in numbness, tingling or pain. The Mayo Clinic adds that when moving his head in certain ways, the patient can have electric-shock sensations. Although the patient can have difficulty feeling different sensations, the NIH notes that hot baths can trigger symptoms.
Other systems in the body can be affected by MS. For example, the patient can have slurred speech. The patient can also have gastrointestinal symptoms, such as constipation and incontinence, or frequent or a strong need to urinate, or problems starting urination. Sexual symptoms are also possible. Male MS patients can have erectile dysfunction, and female MS patients can have problems with vaginal lubrication.