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Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

10 Early Signs of Multiple Sclerosis

By , Caring.com senior editor
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eyes-and-headache

Like other autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis (MS) occurs when your immune system mysteriously goes into overdrive and attacks the body itself, in this case the nerve fibers that run through the brain and spinal cord.

MS begins at a younger age and is much more common than most people realize; more than 350,000 people in the U.S. live with the condition, most of them diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 40. Women are three times more likely to get MS than men, but, oddly, it hasn't always been this way -- until some 20 years ago, men and women got MS in about equal numbers.

It can take a long time for your doctor to figure out that you have MS because the symptoms, taken one by one, can be explained by so many other conditions. Use this list of 10 early signs to get diagnosed faster and start treatment earlier.

Why Your Vision and Eye Issues Could Be an Early Sign of MS

MS can cause a host of mysterious vision problems when it attacks and inflames the optic nerves or confuses signals between the brain and the eyes.

What you might notice:
Your eyes might hurt, either all the time or just when you move them. This may happen with both eyes, but it's most likely to affect just one eye at a time. You might have double vision or blurry vision, or notice that things look dim or colors are off. Another warning sign is uncontrollable eye movements, particularly when you look to the side.

What to do:
Make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to rule out other causes of vision problems and eye pain. If your eye health checks out, ask your doctor for more tests.