Interesting Slide-show from WebMD –
Extreme fatigue, clumsiness, weird prickly sensations, sluggish thinking, wonky vision — these are classic and common first symptoms of multiple sclerosis, or MS. But the expected stops here. Damage to the central nervous system, aka your brain and spinal cord, is what causes these symptoms. That’s a wide range of functions that affect many different people. So it can show up in some strange and varied ways. Watch this slide show (1 / 15).
When you’ve got multiple sclerosis, losing your keys or forgetting a name can be scary. You wonder whether the illness is clouding your thinking.
It’s true that over time, about half of people with MS can have some cognitive problems. That means poor focus, slowed thinking, or a fuzzy memory. Often these problems are mild and don’t really interrupt your daily life. It’s pretty rare to have severe thinking problems. They affect about 5% to 10% of people with MS.
The clues that you have fuzzy thinking due to MS are often subtle. You might not notice them until a friend, co-worker, or family member points them out. You may:
MS usually does not hurt your intelligence or long-term memory. It won’t change your ability to read or carry on a conversation.
If you suspect impaired thinking, talk with your neurologist or family doctor. Fuzzy thinking can have many causes.Your doctor can make sure your problems don’t come from normal aging or drugs that may cause confusion, depression, anxiety, or fatigue.
Once you have any health problems fully treated, the next step is usually testing. Your doctor may refer you to a neuropsychologist, speech pathologist, or occupational therapist.
If test results show that MS is to blame for spotty memory or poor mental focus, you may want to try rehab to sharpen your thinking. It can include:
It’s possible, but rare, that thinking problems become so severe that someone with MS needs constant care or can’t live on their own. If this becomes an issue, discuss your options with your doctor and family. A social worker or psychologist also can help explore options for care.
Scientists are doing studies to see whether the drugs that slow the nerve damage in MS — called disease-modifying medicines — can help with thinking problems, too.Others are looking at treatments, such as Alzheimer’s medications, that may temporarily improve your memory and focus. Ask your doctor to give you updates on any promising results.