The symptoms of multiple sclerosis depend on which particular pathway of nerve fiber is damaged. Tingling, numbness, sensations of tightness or weakness may result when myelin in the spinal cord is damaged. If nerve fibers to the bladder are affected, urinary incontinence may occur. Likewise, damage to the cerebellum portion of the brain may result in imbalance or a lack of coordination. MS patients can have a wide range of symptoms, depending on where the damage occurs in the central nervous system.
Because MS can cause a wide variety of symptoms in different people, doctors frequently struggle to diagnose the disease. However, common symptoms of MS include changes in sensation or sensory symptoms such as tingling and numbness, and changes in muscle function or motor symptoms such as difficulty walking, stiffness or tremors.
Some common symptoms are:
Symptoms usually appear in people between 20 and 40 years of age.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.