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Health 8 Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis Women in Their 20s and 30s Should Know

13:15  05 march  2020
13:15  05 march  2020 Source:   self.com

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But you may not know much about early symptoms of M.S., which are key for detecting the Though everyone should be aware of the disease, its prevalence in women and onset age suggest it's even more important for women in their 20 s and 30 s to pay attention to potential early signs of M.S. Multiple sclerosis is treatable, and the earlier , the better. Since M.S. treatment is focused on slowing

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Early Signs and Common Symptoms . People with multiple sclerosis (MS) tend to have their first symptoms between the ages of 20 and 40. Sexual troubles: These include vaginal dryness in women and erection problems in men.

  8 Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis Women in Their 20s and 30s Should Know © Hiroshi Watanabe / Getty Images

You’ve likely heard of multiple sclerosis (M.S.), an autoimmune disease that damages nerves in the brain and spinal cord. But you may not know much about early symptoms of MS, which are key for detecting the disease and beginning treatment as soon as possible. As a complicated and relatively invisible disease, M.S. is frequently misunderstood or overlooked. But given that M.S. can cause irreversible neurological issues, it’s important to understand signs of M.S. in women.

Multiple sclerosis happens when the immune system attacks nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

When the protective covering on nerve fibers (also known as the myelin sheath) is worn away from this damage, the nerves don't work how they're supposed to, causing communication errors between the brain and body. This can also damage the nerves beyond repair, according to the Mayo Clinic, and also lead to brain atrophy. All of this can cause severe disability over time.

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What people living with multiple sclerosis need to know about coronavirus. 10 March at 19:53 ·. 8 Early Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis Women in Their 20 s and 30 s Should Know .

Multiple sclerosis is more common in women than in men. Symptoms and signs of MS are 5 Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis . Visual changes are often the first signs of Multiple sclerosis usually affects people between the ages of 20 and 50 years, and the average age

Typically, M.S. follows a classic relapse-remission pattern. "You get this burst of inflammation in a spot in the brain, and the inflammation runs its course," Timothy Vollmer, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Colorado who specializes in multiple sclerosis, tells SELF. After this "attack," you then "recover," and the symptoms retreat for a time period until the next attack. This type of M.S. can eventually enter a progressive phase, wherein the disease advances and symptoms continually worsen. This is known as secondary-progressive M.S. A smaller subset of people with M.S. have what's called primary-progressive M.S. Instead of following the relapse-remission pattern for a while, this form of the disease is progressive right off the bat, with no remission periods.

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Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis in Women . As mentioned earlier , MS affects twice as many women as it does men. One of the symptoms that women with MS may experience is the absence of menstrual periods, also known as amenorrhea.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory process involving different areas of the CNS in which the Early warning signs and symptoms of MS in children, teens, and adults are similar; however Are the early signs and symptoms for MS different in men and women ? Stages/Progression.

People with M.S. usually develop it between the ages of 20 and 40 (though there’s a larger onset age range from 15 to 60), and it's at least two times more common in women than in men. The reason for that still remains one of the major mysteries of the disease.

The cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown.

Based on current research, there seem to be genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors at play. Family history of multiple sclerosis makes you more susceptible to it, Dr. Vollmer says (especially if a parent or sibling has it). Researchers have also identified genes that are associated with an increased risk of developing M.S., Dr. Vollmer says, who adds that there's a powerful association between M.S. risk and low vitamin D exposure in utero and early in life. (Low vitamin D levels when you have M.S. are also associated with higher M.S. activity.) This vitamin D connection may help explain the latitude-based geographical trend: M.S. is more common in geographical areas farther from the equator—though there are still some ethnic groups that rarely get the disease despite their location on the map. That said, your location appears to have the chance to affect your M.S. risk only in your first 15 years of life, the Merck Manual explains.

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Symptoms of multiple sclerosis can include fatigue, pain, numbness, muscle spasms, cognitive dysfunction, vision problems, and much more. It is especially common in the early stages of the disease, and its symptoms may be among the first you experience with MS. It can affect one or both

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Detecting early symptoms of M.S. is really important.

Dr. Vollmer calls M.S. a relatively invisible disease since many of the symptoms aren’t obvious to an outside observer. Plus, the symptoms of the disease can also be common symptoms of many other less serious ailments, which often makes M.S. difficult to spot. "They're often subtle enough that health care providers miss it," Dr. Vollmer adds. He also notes that when people present with their first M.S. symptoms, it's very likely they've had the condition for some time and have already suffered significant brain volume loss—this atrophy is a strong predictor of disability, so it's key to catch it early.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, in general, everyone experiences M.S. differently, at any stage of the disease, according to the Mayo Clinic. So when we talk about early symptoms of M.S., keep in mind that it’s not a checklist (and that many other things can cause these symptoms) but a collection of possible flags.

With all of that said, here are some of the most common early signs of M.S. women should look out for. Though everyone should be aware of the disease, its prevalence in women and onset age suggest it's even more important for women in their 20s and 30s to pay attention to potential early signs of M.S.

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1. Fatigue

Fatigue (overwhelming physical or mental exhaustion that’s not relieved by sleep) is the most common symptom of M.S., occurring in 75% to 95% of patients, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Given that it’s not related to the severity of the disease and can occur at any stage, it’s frequently one of the earliest recognizable signs of M.S. The exact cause of fatigue with M.S. is still unknown—another mystery—but there are a few theories that could explain it. One has to do with the activation of the immune system; people with M.S. have a higher level of chemical messengers called cytokines, so you may feel like your body is fighting a virus all the time, which of course could present as fatigue. Another theory is that people with M.S. have to work harder to function in general, because you have to use more parts of your brain to do the same task as someone without M.S.

Dr. Vollmer recommends that any young woman who has serious, unexplained fatigue that interferes with her ability to function on a daily basis should get an MRI. It’s one of the various diagnostic tools used when it comes to M.S.

2. Depression

Alongside fatigue, depression can be an early sign of M.S. Depression can happen in people with M.S. for multiple reasons, Abbey Hughes, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Johns Hopkins Medicine Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Neuropsychology, tells SELF. First, it can be a direct result of how M.S. affects the brain. “When you have a chronic inflammatory condition like M.S., it causes inflammation that disrupts neurotransmitter systems that we know are implicated in depression,” says Hughes. On the other hand, depression is often a natural reaction to other aspects of the disease, like dealing with mysterious symptoms with seemingly no answer. (It’s also a symptom on this list that can exacerbate fatigue, Hughes points out.)

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All that said, depression can be a hard symptom to pinpoint, given how common it is, both as a symptom of other disorders and as its own illness. “Particularly for women in their 20s and 30s, this is usually a time of growth and development and life changes that in and of themselves could lead to challenges with mental health,” says Hughes. For that reason, it’s often most helpful to look at depression as a flag for M.S. particularly when it’s in combination with other symptoms on this list.

3. Sleep disturbances

In a 2014 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study that surveyed more than 2,300 people with M.S., researchers found that around 70% of people screened positive for at least one sleep disorder, such as insomnia, sleep apnea (when you stop breathing multiple times as you sleep), and restless leg syndrome.

While sleep disturbances in M.S. like sleep apnea can be direct results of M.S.’s damage to nerves in the brain and spinal cord, Hughes notes that there are likely behavioral factors at play too. “For example, if someone is fatigued from M.S., they may take a nap during the day or use caffeine excessively, which can significantly impact their ability to sleep at night,” says Hughes.

4. Numbness or tingling

These sensations are symptoms of the demyelination in the brain, which is a central part of M.S. that we talked about earlier. They’re most common in the legs, but you might also experience them in your arms, trunk, or face. And on top of numbness or tingling, you also want to be on the lookout for pain, burning, or itching, according to the Merck Manual.

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5. Weakness and motor control problems

Impairments of muscle function are a central feature of M.S. because of nerve damage, but this can manifest in a few different ways, such as weakness, stiffness, or involuntary muscle actions like spasms. According to materials from the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Multiple Sclerosis, early in M.S., weakness is usually more noticeable after exertion, but it can increase gradually as the disease progresses. The key with weakness (and with all of these early M.S. signs) is to look for something that feels new and unusual for your baseline. “If you find you can’t lift something you normally wouldn’t be able to lift or can’t sustain physical activity for as long as you once could, that’s a sign you should seek medical attention,” Hughes says.

6. Vision problems

When talking about M.S., problems with vision typically fall into two buckets: afferent visual pathway symptoms, which affect how you see the world, and efferent visual pathway disorders, which impact how your eyes move together. According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the earliest indications of M.S. is something called optic neuritis, an afferent visual pathway symptom that occurs when inflammation damages the optic nerve. It usually affects only one eye and leads to pain with eye movement and temporary vision loss. On the other hand, efferent visual pathway disorders might cause symptoms like ocular misalignment, which can make you see double, or repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements.

Regardless of exactly what is going on with your eyes, you want to look out for symptoms like eye pain, vision loss, vision field loss (like losing your peripheral vision), loss of color vision, seeing flashing lights, seeing double, or blurred or “jumping” vision, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the Mayo Clinic.

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7. Bladder dysfunction

M.S. can also interrupt the neural systems in charge of controlling bladder function, leading to a host of problems that can disrupt your life on multiple fronts—not to mention a lot of shame, says Hughes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, bladder dysfunction might mean having trouble controlling urine, experiencing an urgent sense of having to pee immediately, experiencing frequent urges to pee, or having difficulty starting to pee.

8. Sexual dysfunction

Sexual dysfunction, like having a hard time reaching orgasm, can happen with M.S. "because there's not enough sensory input back to the spinal cord," Dr. Vollmer explains. Not to mention, many of the symptoms of M.S. (like depression, fatigue, and bladder issues) can impact desire and sex drive from a psychological standpoint, says Hughes.

Multiple sclerosis is treatable, and the earlier, the better.

Since M.S. treatment is focused on slowing the disease’s progression, it’s essential to begin treatment as soon as possible, Dr. Vollmer says.

There are typically three aspects of treatment: immunological drug therapies (which help regulate the immune system), symptomatic drug therapies (which treat specific symptoms), and lifestyle habits. For example, regular exercise can boost strength, muscle tone, balance, and coordination in people with mild to moderate M.S., according to the Mayo Clinic.

Then there are management therapies, like physical therapy and psychological rehabilitation, which equip people with tools they need to manage the physical and mental challenges that come with M.S. symptoms, says Hughes.

Figuring out your options for treatment, especially if you have only early signs of M.S., can be really confusing. "Bottom line is, try to get at least one second opinion to make sure you understand your options," Dr. Vollmer says.

Related Video: Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis (Provided by News 5 Memphis)

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