Multiple sclerosis can cause problems with muscle control and strength, vision, or balance and sensation. Symptoms vary from person to person and may come and go or become more or less severe from day to day.
Symptoms may include:
- Leg dragging
- Loss of balance
- Movement problems
- Tendency to drop things
- Feeling of heaviness, clumsiness or a lack of coordination
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Stiff, mechanical movements or uncontrollable shaking
- Pain or other sensory symptoms
- Bladder issues, such as inability to control urination or inability to urinate
- Constipation and other bowel disorders
- Erectile dysfunction
Vision symptoms may include:
- Blurred, foggy or hazy vision
- Eye pain, especially with movement
- Rapid eye movement
- Vision loss, usually in one eye
- Double vision
As the disease progresses, in addition to physical symptoms some MS patients may experience cognitive problems such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating or speech issues, as well as emotional symptoms, including depression or mood disorders.
Causes and Risk Factors
The cause of multiple sclerosis is unknown, but more women than men are diagnosed with the disease. Since the risk of MS is significantly higher when a parent has been diagnosed with the disease, genetic factors may play a role. The unusual relationship between a person's geographic location during childhood and the risk of MS later in life suggests that there may be environmental factors at work in the disease.